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How GBMC uses patient input to guide decision-making

By:

In partnership with Fox45

January 14, 2022
At GBMC, whether you are parking, visiting a GBMC HealthCare provider, or using the patient portal, MyChart, there is a group of community members behind the scenes working to make processes as smooth as possible.

The Patient & Family Advisory Council (PFAC) at GBMC was created because, as Director of Patient Experience Michelle Johnson explains, “We wanted to get feedback from patients about how we’re providing services to them. We want to be sure we’re meeting their needs.”

Made up of 12 members of the community, Patient/Family Advisors (PFA) represent the demographic served by GBMC from an age and ethnic perspective. Johnson says Council members usually join PFAC after a memorable experience with GBMC, either as a patient or as a patient’s family member. According to Johnson, their experience with GBMC doesn’t need to be a perfect one to become a PFA.

“For example, if someone files a grievance, we may ask them to be part of the committee. We want a good balance of members who are going to give us honest feedback,” Johnson says.

The GBMC HealthCare PFAC is an integral part of the decision-making process throughout many departments within the hospital, explains Johnson.

“We try to ensure they’re part of the strategic planning process every year. Their voices are heard all the way up to the board,” she says.

Some past input and suggestions from the PFAC include:
  • Parking. Johnson says parking at GBMC was redesigned based on PFAC feedback to include valet parking and separate parking for oncology offices.
  • Payment options. “Once, we considered going cash-free in the offices, but PFAC said, ‘Absolutely not. We need to be able to pay cash because certain parts of the population aren’t electronically-savvy.’ So, we kept cash as a payment option,” Johnson says.
  • Patient Portal design. PFAC members sit on the Patient Portal Design Committee to help ensure the place where patients and families go to get information is user-friendly and easy to navigate.
  • Complaints and grievances. A PFA sits on the Grievances Board because, “we’re not always honest when looking at ourselves with a critical eye. It’s important to hear the voice of the patient and not just a clinical perspective,” Johnson says.
GBMC currently has one hospital-based PFAC, while the Sandra & Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute, Gilchrist, and GBMC Health Partners have their own councils. Johnson says there is an additional PFAC in the process of being formed for Maternal Newborn Health.

Each PFAC is comprised of 12 to 15 members, and patients and family members of patients within the GBMC HealthCare System are welcome to apply. There is an interview process to thoroughly explain the role of the PFAC and the responsibility of its members, and the committee meets at least six times a year.

“PFAC members are an engaged, verbal group,” Johnson says. “They love being a part of the decision-making process and are dedicated to helping GBMC maintain our reputation in the community.”

All healthcare providers and administration at GBMC are grateful for the work of PFAC and value their feedback.

“We are here because of the patients, so we need to ensure the voice of the patients is heard in everything we do,” Johnson says.
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