By Jay Bhatt, D.O., and Katie Mockaitis

Hospitals have made impressive strides in improving care in the inpatient setting and are applying those lessons to outpatient care.

Funded through a contract from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the AHA’s Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) has been working with experts in ambulatory care, patient and family engagement (PFE), and care transitions to create a toolkit specific to the ambulatory care setting that will improve PFE and help patients transition to other ambulatory care providers. A growing body of evidence shows a clear association between PFE and fewer adverse events and better patient self-management.

Two sites are piloting the toolkit from March – June 2017: Vidant Health Belhaven and University of Washington’s General Internal Medicine Clinic. Joan Wynn, chief quality officer of Vidant Health is “excited to work on tools to improve communication and transitions of care from one provider to the next.” Farrah Leland with the University of Washington says, “This ambulatory care toolkit will be instrumental in enabling us to empower patients to take ownership and leadership in their care.” 

This project aligns with several other HRET programs promoting PFE practices to prevent errors and address patient safety in ambulatory care settings:

  • HRET, with funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, surveyed hospitals across the U.S. in 2013 and 2014 about their PFE strategies and identified opportunities for improvement in the field.
  • HRET’s Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN) is leading a special fellowship for participants working on PFE at their hospitals.
  • Through a contract from AHRQ, HRET helped to develop a toolkit as part of the AHRQ Safety Program for Ambulatory Surgery. The project engaged 665 ambulatory care settings in a collaborative to improve patient safety in ambulatory surgery and endoscopy centers. The toolkit will be available later this year.
  • HRET works to improve communication and teamwork skills among ambulatory providers through a contract to administer the AHRQ TeamSTEPPS for Office-Based Care in-person and online programs. 

The evidence connecting patient and family engagement and safer care is mounting. We are all part of the team that is developing the new frontier of patient safety – one that has the patient firmly rooted at the center of the care team. Now is the time to focus on improving the patient experience, reducing errors and improving all segments of the patient care continuum to make better and more cost-effective care a reality.

Are you on the journey?

Jay Bhatt is president and CEO of HRET Trust and chief medical officer of the AHA. Katie Mockaitis is an HRET program manager.

Related News Articles

Headline
Racial and ethnic health disparities persist across the United States, even in states with otherwise high-performing health systems, according to the latest…
Headline
The White House April 16 released a strategy to guide the federal government in protecting the nation from infectious disease threats by working with other…
Headline
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and territorial public health officials Friday met to discuss preparedness planning for bird flu after one…
Chairperson's File
 Fostering a culture of innovation and safety that prioritizes communication and teamwork to deliver safe, world-class care to patients and also protects…
Headline
A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine calls for developing better diagnostics, vaccines and treatments to enhance U.S…
Headline
U.S. health care organizations should immediately transition away from using certain unauthorized plastic syringes made in China by Jiangsu Caina Medical Co.…