A driving force for health equity

The Importance of Incorporating the Patient Voice Into Health Care Initiatives

By: Nikki Stover, Research Coordinator, in collaboration with Anna Templeton, Research Associate, and Tiffany Prescott, Research Coordinator

All of our work across the OCHIN collaborative – diverse care delivery sites, all departments, and all the roles involved in delivering care – is about improving the health of people and communities we serve. Listening and talking to patients about the ways we deliver, improve, and study care provides valuable, critical insights from care recipients and community members and helps to ensure our projects and programs are successful. OCHIN’s Patient Engagement Panel (PEP) gives patients a way to actively advise and guide decision makers, providers, and researchers in work to improve healthcare experiences, delivery, and options.

The PEP currently has nine members representing diverse backgrounds and lived experiences across multiple states, urban/rural locations, races/ethnicities, ages, genders, and sexual orientations. PEP members have diverse experience providing input across a number of project components and activities. Some examples of the types of input they offer include:

·        Providing impact and value

·        Anticipating feasibility issues and provide solutions

·        Maximizing participation

·        Prioritizing dissemination activities

·        Tailoring communications

·        Identifying implementation strategies with high likelihood of success.

In the last year, the OCHIN Research Engagement team has been contacted by several community and care organizations looking to incorporate patient feedback into the development of their projects and programs.

The Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research engaged the PEP in reviewing a proposal to promote colorectal cancer screening. PEP input enhanced their proposal by providing direct feedback on patient concerns, priority outcomes for future research, patient involvement on the study team, patient ideas on how to engage smaller health centers, and other community-based organizations that may support improved screening.

The Oregon Primary Care Association (OPCA) consulted with the PEP on a Social Determinants of Health (SDH) questionnaire they were looking to implement in their health care centers. The feedback from the PEP allowed the OPCA to make adjustments to the survey to minimize barriers to patients and improve health care outcomes.

Additionally, all of our PEP members have served on individual study teams as Patient Investigators or patient panelists; seven are currently working on ten funded research projects.  

While the PEP has traditionally consulted on OCHIN and ADVANCE Collaborative specific research projects and proposals, the OCHIN Research Engagement Team (Anna Templeton, Tiffany Prescott, and Nikki Stover) is looking to expand opportunities for the PEP to advise on projects and programs outside the research department. Whether you’re planning a project or have one underway, if you’re aiming to improve patient care and outcomes throughout the OCHIN Collaborative or in partnership with our health care community members, the PEP can help!

If you have a specific project or question where you’d like patient feedback, please complete this request form. If you feel your work would benefit from the engagement of the PEP, but would like more information before making a request, please feel welcome to reach out to our PEP Coordinators at PEP@ochin.org.