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  1. Anderson, Rhonda MPA, RN, CNAA, FAAN, CHE

Article Content

Patients As Partners

The frequency with which professional articles about quality and safety are being written seem to have increased over the past 5 years. Newspaper articles and consumer journals have many "tips" on how to stay safe if one is going to be hospitalized. These articles have "warning, warning, warning" written throughout their content.


In reading the October 2005 Southwest Airlines Spirit magazine articles, "Does Doctor Know Best" and "Patient Powered Medicine," my antenna was raised to new heights!! The "prescription for selection of physicians" included the typical suggestions of checking credentials and hearing from the physicians their rendition of successes. The unconventional recommendations included interviewing patients from the physicians' practice so that the consumer learns about the physicians' willingness to partner with their patients when deciding on appropriate intervention and treatment.


The November 3, 2005, Info@healthcarenew.net subject also captured my curiosity. It "warned" managed care organizations and healthcare organizations about being accepting of consumers' role in their care and treatment decisions:


1. The rise of the consumer is fact not fiction.


2. With current and future technology, consumer-driven healthcare is alive and well.


3. Healthcare plan designs will be directed by the consumer.


4. Consumer-centric healthcare is here to stay.



The 2001 Institute of Medicine report Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century1 identified unanticipated deaths of hospitalized patients as a horrific healthcare problem. The report also identified proposed solutions. One area of focus was patient-centered or patient-focused care. This issue will focus on learnings from managed care organizations, patients, and healthcare organizations as they shift from provider-driven care to partnerships with patients and consumer-driven care.


Many organizations spent the past 5 years redesigning their care models using the Institute of Medicine's tenets and other evidence to frame their new design. The organizations adopted evidence-based practices in safety, patient centeredness, reliability, and teaming as the foundation for their models, the general principle of the redesign being that patient safety and quality outcomes will improve if patients are intimately involved in their goal setting, goal attainment, and care. In 2004, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement published Transforming Care at the Bedside.2 The focus of this publication is on teams of clinicians working with patients on mutual goals, leading to safe and quality outcomes. The publication can be a guide for each healthcare organization as it transforms care and provides improved consumer outcomes.


This issue has many authors who have identified their experience with consumer-driven outcomes. I was excited to find such a variety of settings and experiences to share with our readers. Dr Imogene King provides our readers with her theory and continues to challenge our leadership and bedside practice with her awesome work.


Two consumers of healthcare bravely shared their stories and experiences about their encounter with the "healthcare system"!! Listening to our patients as we partner in their care is the loud and clear message from these authors. Have you ever been a patient? Did your care providers listen to you? Did they encourage you to partner in your care, decisions, and treatment?


As I read each article I was grateful to the authors for their ability to effect change in their workgroup or organization. Transforming our practice is not easy. However, if leaders use the current evidence and an effective change model to help staff adapt to the change, successes like those described in this issue will be experienced.


The most important aspect of transformation is to craft a patient-centered model. Patients know their body and mind best. They also know their level of interest and desire in managing their health-illness continuum in an effective way. As clinicians if we listen, teach, and coach, we will be effective partners with our patients. Together we will be the drivers of safe and quality outcomes for the patient.


Are you a partner in your patients' care? As a leader do you encourage consumer-driven outcomes as a basis for practice in your organization?


Only you can answer the questions!!


Rhonda Anderson, MPA, RN, CNAA, FAAN, CHE


Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer, Banner Desert Medical Center, Mesa, Ariz




1. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2001. [Context Link]


2. Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Transforming Care at the Bedside. Cambridge, Mass: Institute for Healthcare Improvement; 2004. Innovation Series 2004. [Context Link]