Lessons Learned from a Systems Approach to Engaging Patients and Families in Patient Safety Transformation

National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education's picture
Submitted by National Center... on Sep 13, 2021 - 12:15pm CDT

Resource Type: 
Journal Article


Effective patient- and family-centered care requires a dedication to engaging patients and family members in health system redesign to improve the quality, safety, and experience of care. Provided here are lessons learned six years after establishing an infrastructure of patient and family advisory councils (PFACs) focused on improving health care quality and safety.


A large regional health care system with multiple hospitals and ambulatory care delivery sites in the eastern United States adopted a systemwide approach to Patient and Family Advisory Councils on Quality and Safety (PFACQS Ⓡ ) in 2012.


This conceptual article describes the barriers and facilitators of adopting, implementing, and sustaining the PFACQS model across a large, geographically diffuse health system. Successful strategies that emerged include active board engagement, co-creation and mentorship by experienced patient advocates to support enhanced engagement by local PFACQS community members, and clear alignment with and line of sight on organizational quality and safety goals.


Implementing a robust network of PFACQS focused on improving quality and patient safety requires leadership commitment to transparency, as well as mutual respect and trust. Establishing clear guidelines, structures, and processes supports early adoption. Openness to continuous improvement and adaptations are important to program success and contribute to program sustainability.

Hatlie MJ
Nahum A
Leonard R
Jones L
Nahum V
Krevat SA
Mayer DB
Smith KM
Individual, Family, Community, and Population-centered (IFCP) Collection