Engaging Patients in Improving Ambulatory Care

A Compendium of Tools from Maine, Oregon, and Humboldt County, California

A new toolkit showcases how primary care practices are involving patients in quality improvement efforts as part of Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s signature effort to lift the quality of care in targeted communities across the United States. The “Engaging Patients in Improving Ambulatory Care” toolkit features videos and an extensive compendium of adaptable resources from three AF4Q alliances—Maine, Oregon, and Humboldt County, Calif.—to introduce the concept of partnering with patients and families in primary care and share lessons learned.

These three communities were among the first in AF4Q to implement this kind of patient engagement strategy on a broad scale, but others are following suit and a growing number of practices are harnessing patients’ involvement in quality improvement work. The compendium of resources includes a variety of tools that health care organizations in these communities have used in their efforts to engage patients. These tools can help recruit, orient, and train patients; clarify roles and responsibilities; and put a structure in place to foster relationships. The accompanying video segments offer lessons and tips for effectively working with patients to improve care.

As the toolkit notes, patients are at the heart of primary care practices. For practices looking to improve the care they provide, the patients they care for can give unique perspectives on practice function and care delivery.

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