Skip Content
Patient and Family Engagement Banner

Patient and Family Engagement (PFE)

Why We Want to Improve Patient and Family Engagement

Studies suggest that patients and families who feel part of the care team tend to be happier with their care and ultimately have better medical results. They are more likely to comply with their treatment and prevention plans, less likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors and they have fewer Emergency Department visits and hospitalizations.

Additionally, according the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, when patients and families are involved, hospitals and healthcare systems have an opportunity to improve quality and reduce medical errors, healthcare-associated infections and readmissions.

Improving patient safety and quality of care requires a redesign of relationships in healthcare and a greater emphasis on patient and family engagement.

Success Within New Jersey Hospitals

Through the NJHIIN Patient and Family Engagement Collaborative webinar series, hospitals and health systems focus on education, maximizing diversity in both the patient and family-centered care work, and the makeup of their patient and family advisory councils (PFACs). It has been well documented that diverse PFACs support organizational improvement that delivers high-quality, culturally-appropriate healthcare to current and future patient populations and address any disparities in healthcare and health outcomes.

The Path for Implementing a PFAC: A Three-part Webinar Series

Are you trying to start a Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) or set up a new PFAC for success? If so, the NJHIIN encourages you to listen to the 3-part PFE Learning Event series on how to implement a patient and family advisory council or patient representatives on hospital committee presented by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as part of the Partnership for Patients initiative.

This 3-part learning series is designed to help HIINs and hospitals bring together and support patient and family advisors (PFAs) in effective PFACs. The first event, held April 12, focused on assessing readiness and building the foundation for a PFAC.

Webinar Part 1. Assessing Readiness & Building the Foundation - focuses on exploring common barriers and myths of patient and family advisors (PFAs) and PFACs, provides tools to assess hospital readiness, and discusses strategies for building buy-in for PFAs and PFACs. Presenters also share experiences in creating PFACs in organizations and key lessons learned.

To listen to Part 1, click here.

Webinar Part 2. Recruiting and Selecting Advisors - focuses on discussing: (1) key qualities of an effective PFA and the role of diversity; (2) strategies to recruit advisors; and (3) how to select the “right” advisors for the role.

To listen to Part 2, click here.

Webinar Part 3. Building Infrastructure and Sustainability – establishing a mission and approach, developing bylaws, and preparing staff and members on how to sustain and implement a successful PFAC.

To listen to Part 3, click here

NJHIIN Efforts Nationally Recognized - PFE Metric 1

The PfP Person and Family Engagement Contractor (PFEC) conducted a pilot of a sample preadmission planning checklist (PFE Metric 1) with four hospitals in the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA) Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN). The purpose of the pilot was to gather feedback on the sample checklist from users, including patients, families, care partners, and hospital staff, to improve the checklist and identify best practices for administering the checklist.

Hospitals were asked to collect feedback on the checklist using a data collection form that gathered information including how the checklist was used and distributed, how long it took to go over the checklist, and what worked and didn't work well.

All hospitals reported benefits to using the checklist for patients, care partners, and staff, and one hospital reported that patient experience scores for two variables - Good Understanding of Managing Your Health and Rate the Hospital - trended upwards during the pilot. The key takeaways for successfully using the checklist included:

  • Customize the checklist for different patient populations.
  • Make the checklist available in different formats, including a trifold brochure.
  • Be sure to adequately train hospital clinicians and staff to use the checklist with patients and families.
  • Bundle the checklist with existing processes and patient education materials to avoid additional burden for patients.

A summary of the pilot, English and Spanish versions of the checklist, and additional guidance on how to implement the checklist can be found at 

Our Goals Moving Ahead

By September 2018, each participating NJHIIN hospital will improve their performance in five PFE metrics:

  1. Creating a planning checklist for scheduled admission.
  2. Implementing shift change huddles/bedside reporting with patients and families.
  3. Identifying a PFE leader or function area to exist in the hospital.
  4. Creating a PFE committee or adding a PFE representative on hospital committee.
  5. Including patients and families on hospital governing and/or leadership board.