“The most important work we have done this year has been on improving patient and provider interactions. Doctors and patients should always be able to walk out of the room feeling like their interaction was both meaningful and productive.” – Bradley Pienton, Chair
Having a positive and productive relationship is crucial to the health and wellbeing of the patient. The leadership team engaged the PFAC to evaluate all aspects of physician/patient communication from a new patient perspective. The patients shared that when they are first referred to neurology they are seeking answers to symptoms and hopeful that the neurologist has reviewed their chart. They provided pointers on how to convey care and empathy to the patient thorough body language and key phrases. Council members were invited to spend time directly with physicians, providing a deeper understanding of the patient’s needs.
The thing I appreciate the most about the PFAC is how much everyone invests of themselves into the process of changing healthcare for the better. The leadership teams, council members, medical and business staff all come together eager to exchange viewpoints, openly consider other perspectives and candidly address the most complicated issues that our patients and providers face. I am constantly amazed by what we can achieve together.
Both of my parents became sick at 72 and 73 years old and I had to move them from Arizona to Grand Rapids to take care of them. My mother had several strokes in 2008 leaving her with lasting side effects. She went from being a busy, vibrant, thriving woman to a frail, broken person. They told her that she would never walk without her walker and she will never be “normal” again. My father retired early so he could take care of her. After four years, my father fell into a deep depression; it is believed that he experienced post-traumatic stress syndrome because of my mother’s illness. Now with early onset Alzheimer’s, he can’t take care of himself. I am the primary caregiver and patient advocate surrounding my parents with the appropriate care.
Our experience overall has been positive. When there is an opportunity for improvement, I prefer to share the issue and then help solve it. Spectrum Health always seeks to resolve the issue and is open to ways to improve the patient experience. The PFAC is very respected with the leadership so I know it’s worth my time to help.
I love helping the patient experience and maybe even saving a life.