PFACs are an effective mechanism for receiving and responding to consumer* insights and wisdom.
Often I will hear – “Why do we [leadership] need to invest time, money and other resources to engage patients and families? We are all patients too. We already know the answers.”
No. No we really don’t. It is different.
- Leaders often have access that patients and families do not.
- Leaders know how to work the system for best results.
- Leaders have enhanced understanding of healthcare and insurance processes.
- Leaders know more about the system so truly don’t represent a patient and family who does not.
- Leaders often represent different cultures, different socioeconomic conditions, different levels of education, privilege and more from patients and families.
And thus, just as often the decisions leaders make reflect the leaders view, their bias, their perspective, their preferences and not those of the people we as leaders are blessed to serve.
And when the decisions of us leaders do not reflect the views of our patients and families … we harm.
Leaders MUST step outside of their comfort zone (their echo chamber) and look through the lens of their patients and families … and the best way to do so is to create systems, e.g., PFACs, which position each leader to LISTEN with open heart and mind to truly understand patients and families and to honor them by using this additional wisdom for system improvement for the betterment of all.
* On another note, I am not a fan of the term “consumer”. But that is a discussion for another time.