Patient and Family Advisory Councils

Cardiovascular Health

Meeting the Needs of the Patient the First Time

The Cardiovascular Health PFAC focused on improving patient access to their cardiovascular care team. From scheduling their first consult following a cardiac event to calling for a prescription refill, the council brought the varying needs of patients to light.

The council partnered with the Clinical Triage Call Improvement team, which consolidated the clinical triage staff at five locations to reduce hold time and meet the needs of the 500-700 incoming patient calls. After spending time listening to incoming calls and “testing” the triage service themselves, the council recommended the option to leave a message, shift the order of triage and have a live person respond to medication refill requests.

An initiative called “Schegistration” is an effort to combine authorization, scheduling and registration into one. The Patient Access Service Center partnered with the Cardiovascular service line to provide best in class patient experience. This includes the ability to coordinate multiple appointments in one call along with registration, which used to be a second call to our patients. Members shared that patients would appreciate having the ability to schedule multiple appointments or tests in one call. This feedback resulted in implementing one phone number (1.855.7.My.Heart) which will streamline the patient experience with one simple, convenient option.

I continue to be impressed and immensely grateful for our Cardiovascular PFAC members. Their level of engagement and commitment to enhancing our patient’s experience and the care we provide is much appreciated. Over the last year, they were instrumental in setting direction for our marketing campaign and many operational changes we made. Their fresh eyes approach and willingness to provide direct feedback was exactly what we needed and made all the difference in our approach and messaging.

Tracey Burke, Vice President

Thanks to all of our Council Members:

Cardiovascular Health Patient and Family Advisory Council

  • Arlene Hendricks Potter, Chair
  • Sheila Hendrix, Vice Chair
  • Doug Battjes
  • John Baxter
  • Andrew Bixel
  • Cathy Forbes
  • Matthew Geerlings
  • Doug Haan
  • Kathy Hoseth
  • Wanda Kok
  • Art Ledin-Bristol
  • Nick Paradiso
  • Tom Start
  • Michael Travis

Cardiovascular Health Leadership

  • Penny Wilton, MD, Vice President, Department Chief
  • Tracey Burke, Vice President
  • Chris Bopp, Director
  • Jason Dettwiler, Director
  • Colleen Tacoma, Director
  • Deb Sprague, Improvement Specialist
  • Lisa White, Administrative Assistant

I appreciate Spectrum’s long-term commitment to direct discussion and honest feedback with patients and family to improve health care for all.

Arlene Hendrix-Potter, Chair

Member Highlight - Andrew Bixel

Can you share your experiences with Spectrum Health?

When I moved to Grand Rapids, I was looking for a primary care physician and became a patient of a well-respected physician. Through a routine physical, I learned I may have a heart condition. After various tests and meeting with a Spectrum Health cardiologist, I learned of my congenital heart condition. This came as a surprise, as no issue had been detected previously throughout my life. My primary care physician, cardiologist and health care team have worked together to make sure I have the best possible care and understand my condition.

What motivated you to be a part of the PFAC and why do you stay involved?

Our health is important and PFAC was a group I wanted to get involved in. West Michigan is great for many reasons and having a high-caliber health care organization is one that we should be proud of and not take for granted. On a professional note, I work at Grand Valley State University with our health sciences programs and daily get to see how students are becoming the future skilled health care leaders of Spectrum Health.

What PFAC accomplishments are you the proudest of?

I am proud of how our PFAC has provided feedback to the Cardiovascular Department and how we collectively have been able to make positive changes for patients and families. I appreciate the opportunity I have had to provide the Cardiovascular Department with the patient and family member perspective. Serving on PFAC comes with a lot of responsibility in representing the voice of patients and family members, but the leaders truly listen, and we are all committed to making Spectrum Health the leader in cardiovascular health.