Patient Partner Innovation Community (PPIC) — Community
Network Development

The importance of including the voices of patients, families, caregivers, and communities in transforming the U.S. healthcare system cannot be overstated. Yet many healthcare organizations do not effectively engage these voices in their improvement efforts because they lack the experience, time, or resources needed to organize and implement an effective engagement strategy.

ATW Health Solutions can develop and manage your patient and family engagement (PFE) or community engagement strategy using the equity lens to achieve improved outcomes and experiences for the patients you serve. Our team includes experienced professionals, subject matter experts, and a full-time advocate with lived experience who, collectively, have:

  • Created one of the nation’s largest and most diverse patient and consumer networks with more than 3,000 active members

  • Designed, implemented, and evaluated engagement plans for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and other hospital and agency-based programs

  • Supported national measurement research and development

  • Recruited, educated, and engaged patients, families, and caregivers in research, large-scale quality improvement, and transformation initiatives

  • Formed more than 40 Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) for hospitals and health systems

  • Placed more than 500 patients, consumers, and community representatives on national and federal work groups, committees, or other healthcare projects
The Impact of Patient, Family, and Community Engagement on Healthcare Quality and Safety Outcomes

How do we know that engagement strategies create better outcomes? Well, we have the data.

For over a decade, ATW Health Solutions served as lead contributors to the engagement work for large government improvement projects, including the CMS Partnership for Patients (PfP) and Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI). Serving more than 4,800 hospitals and 140,000 clinicians nationally, these experiences created the unique opportunity for ATW Health Solutions to serve as the study design team for a project that included some of the nation’s top-performing hospitals, patient experience and safety subject matter experts, Ph.D. researchers, and a diverse panel of patient and family advisors to research the relationship between PFE and quality and safety outcomes.

This multi-year analysis found that hospitals that leveraged the voice of patients and families in their quality, safety, and operational improvement efforts had better healthcare outcomes. Specifically, an above-average correlation between high levels of PFE and lower rates of falls with injury and 30-day readmissions was found.

In other words, the highest-scoring performers (which featured stronger integration of PFE and quality and safety) had a stronger correlation than mid and low performers. When the same analysis was completed using the control measures, the results did not show similar correlations. As a result, our team validated the correlation between PFE, falls, and readmissions.

Our engagement science experts understand the intersections of patient and community engagement. Further evidence supporting the impact of community engagement and improved outcomes is demonstrated in our Community Engagement for Early Recognition and Immediate Action in Stroke (CEERIAS) initiative. This multi-phased research and implementation project aimed to leverage community and patient engagement to improve outcomes for at-risk populations in South Chicago with high stroke incidence and low EMS usage. ATW Health Solutions served as co-investigators and subject matter experts supporting community engagement in partnership with two prestigious academic health systems

The CEERIAS initiative partnered researchers with community members in two predominantly Black and Hispanic Chicago neighborhoods at high risk for stroke to co-develop an educational program that spread messaging about stroke warning signs and symptoms, promoted trust, and communicated the importance of early arrival to the Emergency Department (ED) in improving stroke outcome.

ATW Health Solutions’ engagement strategies focus on co-designed strategies, content, communications, and interventions. The CEERIAS study findings demonstrated there was an increase in younger people (by 0.8% per month), men (by 1.2% per month), and Black patients (by 0.9% per month) who arrived at the ED early in select Chicago hospitals. This increased their chances of receiving time-dependent, evidence-based treatment. Furthermore, the number of people who used an ambulance when they thought they were having a stroke increased 2.2-fold after the program began.

Why Partner With ATW Health Solution

Whether you are a hospital, health system, improvement organization, professional association, or federal agency, ATW Health Solutions is uniquely qualified to help you with your engagement strategy because of our data and evidence-based approach to engagement and equity.

As expert equity practitioners, we understand the science of engagement and equity. Our team fully integrates research-supported methods from strategy development to implementation and evaluation to ensure more equitable outcomes. For us, this doesn’t merely include diversity and inclusion of people but a thoughtful approach to reviewing structures, processes, and policies for the strategies we design for clients. We have a full-time patient advocate with lived experience on our staff to inform our solutions.

ATW Health Solutions helped move our work forward. Their deep expertise in patient engagement and advancing health equity has been invaluable for CHCS and our learning collaborative members.

Anna Spencer Senior Program Officer, Center for Healthcare Strategies
    Strategic Planning, Implementation, and Management

    Design and implement stakeholder engagement processes and plans that reflect what matters most to all patients at each level of hospital care (i.e., direct care/point of contact, hospital policy and procedure, governance, and public and community policy). Apply PFE and equity metrics in scorecards for both annual operating plans and strategic plans. Communicate the importance of PFE and equity to advance a comprehensive population health management strategy.

    Patient Partner Innovation Community (PPIC)

    Patient Partner Innovation Community (PPIC) is a virtual network comprising approximately 2,800 patients, caregivers, and advocates actively working together for learning, education, and networking. PPIC members come with lived experience accessing healthcare and share a willingness to partner across different projects to improve the quality, safety, and overall experience of all patients.

    Many PPIC members are volunteers in their own communities, working directly with local and national healthcare organizations. Our longstanding work with patient advocates has secured collaborating relationships with more than 200 Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) in hospitals and clinics across the country as well as direct access to beneficiaries that have participated in CMS networks such as HIIN, TCPI, ESRD, BFCC, and QIN-QIO networks.

    Learn more if you are interested in sharing your lived experience and joining the network (for consumers) or learning from people with lived experiences and accessing the network (for organizations).

    Consider our PDAccelerator to Recruit Patient Partners

    Check out our Patient Development Accelerator (PDAccelerator). Fueled by the engine of the ATW Health Solutions Engaged Health Center of Excellence, the PDAccelerator has assisted many organizations in developing a strategy for engagement and activation, establishing a stakeholder or consumer panel, engage hard to reach populations in research, and bringing the voices of traditionally marginalized communities into market research quickly and efficiently.

    ATW Health Solutions was able to help us recruit diverse patients. The patient advisors are now part of our advisory panel meetings. People really appreciate the candid patient partners.

    Angelia Bowman Director, Research & Analysis, National Committee for Quality Assurance
      Community Engagement Programs and Market Research
      Implement a proven community and patient engagement program that has demonstrated outcomes. ATW Health Solutions employs its community engagement model to systematically partner healthcare professionals and clinicians with patients and community members to gain powerful insights and identify key themes around community member experiences with and perceptions of the healthcare system as a means to improve outcomes.
      What Can A PFE Strategy Do For Your Organization?

      Family Advisory Council (PFAC), including:

      • Translating healthcare promotions into public service messages understandable to the non-medical community
      • Improving access to patient appointments
      • Increasing patient safety by reducing falls and medical errors
      • Redesigning hospital layout to reduce medical errors
      • Increasing hospital patients’ satisfaction
      • Decreasing patient complaints
      • Having a therapeutic effect on former and current patients volunteering in the PFAC
      • Increasing healthcare organizations’ awareness of the patient perspective to provide patient-centered care

      Physicians reviewed over 62 studies to determine how PFACs could help hospitals improve patient health outcomes. One Seattle hospital reported data that showed admirable improvements in patient care.

      The team at ATW Health Solutions has helped more than 40 hospitals design their PFACs using best practices. We are experienced in identifying, recruiting, and interviewing volunteers to serve on your PFAC, ensuring all voices from your community are represented. Because we understand many strategies can be used beyond implementing a PFAC, we have also assisted institutions in quantifying the results of their PFE strategies using our IPIA.

      Finding engaged patients for your PFAC is the most challenging part of the process. ATW Health Solutions has proven ability to execute this critical aspect of setting up a PFAC. We look for patients who provide constructive criticism, share their experiences productively within a group setting, and feel passionate about the work —so your organization can have the best experience with your PFAC.

      Whether your organization needs to identify and interview a few new patients to diversify your PFAC or start a new PFAC, ATW Health Solutions can help.

      We offer the following services:

      • Strategic planning and project kick-off activities
      • Internal staff preparation and education
      • Designing the PFAC application form
      • Creating a marketing and recruitment plan
      • Conducting patient and family advisor interviews
      • Recommending former patients for the PFAC
      • Coaching during and after the PFAC set-up

      ATW Health Solutions’ unique outreach approach to identifying patient partners assures your organization will have a diverse and engaged PFAC

      Already Have A Patient And Family Advisory Council?

      PFACs are common across the US —but not all are created equal. If you’ve already started your PFAC, ATW Health Solutions can help you maximize the partnership you’ve built with your council.

      ATW Health Solutions knows how to embed patient advisors into quality, safety, and operational committees. If you need additional coaching on how to integrate your PFAC into your hospital processes, we can provide guidance on best practices as well as coaching tailored to your organization.

      Contact ATW Health Solutions For More Information

      Contact ATW Health Solutions so we can start you on your path toward implementing an effective and equitable PFE strategy.