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Friday, July 22, 2016

A Patient Family Advisory Council’s reduction of waiting room anxiety: I think about who’s coming after me

Mal’s story on the Patient/Family Advisory Council:

I’m the Co-Chair of a Patient/Family Advisory Council (PFAC) at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.  

Several of us on the PFAC who’d been through the surgical experience at BI, in the waiting room as a patient and as a family member, found it was not a very comforting or personal experience, but was rather stressful.  One of our projects was making that experience less stressful for the loved ones waiting.  A doctor and an I.T. [Information Technology] staff member came to the PFAC and asked for our input.  Several of us shared how impersonal it was.  It was an open area, at the main entrance to the hospital.  It created extra stress with all the people coming and going constantly.  

Now there’s a new waiting area that was created, away from the main entrance, that also has a newer technology of communicating to people where their family member is in terms of the surgical process.  It’s an electronic board, so I can see, for example, my spouse is in Surgery, or, they’re in Recovery.  They give each patient a special code on the screen, so it’s HIPAA compliant [to protect privacy].  And there’s an actual person to talk to when they want to check in and a person who knows the information about their family member.   
In my volunteer work on the Boards of nonprofit organizations, when I feel strongly about something, I jump into it.  I got really great care at the hospital, and I also saw room for improvement.  I think about who’s coming after me.

Read another story about a Patient/Family Advisory Council.

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