A patient having his blood pressure taken by a physician. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I’m blogging early today because tonight I’ll be in my monthly, late-in-the-day meeting. It’s the Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital Patient & Family Advisory Council (PFAC).
PFAC is a committee made up of staff, patients, family members, and interested community members. They work together to work on or give guidance and suggestions for projects around the hospital that can more positively impact the patients there.
If you have ever been in, or had a family member in, the hospital or if you or a family member have ever worked in a hospital, you probably noticed that some things seemed disconnected or disjointed. I have been on both sides (patient/family member and staff) and can attest to the fact that each has certain ideas about the other and not all of those thoughts are necessarily true.
For instance, when you are a patient at the hospital and the doctor says he wants to run a test to see if he can determine the cause of your ailment, you figure he will go out, order the test, and someone will take you right over to get the test done. Then the doctor will have the answer.
But, what you as a patient don’t realize is that a hospital is not a single entity but actually more like a little city. The doctor will write the order for the test, which is then passed along to the department doing the test. They have to work you into the schedule since there can be multiple patients getting tested there along with possible tests being done on people who are not patients but are coming in to the hospital to have that test also done. Once you are on the schedule, you have to be taken to that department at the appointed time. Some type of transport will be called for. You go to have the test, perhaps there is some preparation you need so the test can be done. Once you have completed the test, you will be taken back to your room.
Now the doctor gets the test results, right? Perhaps. And perhaps the test needs to be read or translated and transcribed onto a report. Then the report has to be communicated to the doctor. If it is not communicated to him by the time he wants to see it, he may have to call over to get the results himself. Now he will communicate the results with you.
Each of these steps involves additional people and can take additional time. So it can be later in the day or even the following day before you get the result of the test the doctor decided needed to be done for you.
And on the other side, the hospital (i.e. little city) figures that you naturally know that there are multiple departments (shops) involved in getting this test done for you and they will all try to do their best to work it in in a timely manner and to take care of each little step involved while still taking care of you and all the other patients, family members, and doctors, etc.
Anyway, I’ve long thought it would be a great idea for staff and patients to communicate with each other better so each understands the other’s viewpoints and issues. The PFAC committee is a great step in that very process. And especially since Saint Joseph is building a brand new building to move into, the committee has a chance to give input and work together on a variety of topics, including something as simple as what type of telephone to provide in the patient rooms!