June 2013

Report Highlights Accomplishments of Patient and Family Advisory Councils


As one of CHI’s evidence-based practices, Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) ensure that patients and their families have a forum to share their ideas for improvement of the patient experience. Based on recommendations from CHI’s National Patient and Family Advisory Council, CHI incorporated PFACs into one of its quality goals. As a result, from 2011 through 2012, PFACs were established or further developed by all of CHI’s local organizations; each PFAC presented senior leaders with prioritized recommendations for improving the patient experience; and one or more recommendations were selected and implemented.

A new CHI report, Patient Engagement in Action 2012, shares the development and results of these projects throughout CHI. The projects produced new resources, ideas for change and outcome measures that are available to all CHI organizations to use or to adapt for their settings.

For example, the PFAC at Saint Joseph Martin, Martin, KY, used quality data to identify the need to improve the speed and quality of the patient registration process. Based on feedback from “secret shoppers,” the hospital conducted customer service training for all patient access staff, made structural improvements to separate the outpatient and emergency department registration areas, and added staff in the registration area. Saint Joseph Martin’s patient satisfaction with the registration process increased 20%, exceeding the goal of a 10% increase.

At Mercy Medical Center, Des Moines, IA, the PFAC told hospital leaders that patient room signage – a collection of signs and stickers in varying colors and type sizes – was overwhelming and confusing for many patients. The PFAC recommended posting only the most critical messages, developing easy-to-read signage and putting additional information in a patient reference guide. On four units selected to pilot the new signage, patient satisfaction increased: for example, on the medical/surgical unit, satisfaction went from less than 60% to nearly 80% in six months.

Patient Engagement in Action 2012 presents many more summaries of PFAC projects with links to additional detail.