Interprofessional Education: Direct Observation of Attending and Resident Bedside Communication by a Patient Advisor to Improve Patient Experience

Interprofessional Education

Vidant Health is a large regional health system serving 29 counties in rural, eastern North Carolina. Vidant is made up of eight hospitals, physician practices, home health, hospice, wellness centers and other health care services.

Vidant has embraced patient- and family-centered care and made a commitment to include patients and families in key decisions affecting not only an individual’s care but also policies, procedures, training and the entire culture of the health care system. Vidant has specially trained patient-family advisors who volunteer their time and share their insights in a variety of ways including an active, system-wide PFAC.

As a Project Site for Creating Capacity for Sustainable Partnerships with Patients and Families in Research, a project team identified a low scoring unit on HCAHPS physician communication. PFAC members were engaged to help develop and implement a model of interprofessional care based on the compassionate and collaborative care framework. An intervention was developed to improve patient experience through direct observations of attending and residents by a patient advisor and experience leader during bedside rounds. Patient advisors were involved in meeting with physician and nursing leaders to share findings and determine next steps. The engagement of PFAs was instrumental in bringing the voice of the patient to the observation process and the selection of patient advisors with strong communication skills and dedicated hours each week was critical to implementing the study. Patient advisors were involved in meeting with physician and nursing leaders to share findings and determine next steps.

The communication observation tool was developed in concert with a patient advisor. Vidant’s PFAC was provided with bi-monthly updates on the status of the work and feedback was solicited. Data were analyzed and utilized to guide the development of educational resources including a training video or rounding simulations.

Team members included:

  • Kathy Dutton, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, FABC, Senior Administrator, Office of Experience (Retired)
  • Dorothea Handron, Patient Advisor
  • Kim Blanton, Patient Advisor
  • Sharon Alexander, Patient Advisor
  • Patricia Anderson, Patient Advisor
  • Brittany Barta, Patient Advisor
  • Wanda Bunch, Patient Advisor
  • Vanessa Fischer, Patient Advisor
  • Dave Galloway, Patient Advisor
  • Millie Hagler, Patient Advisor
  • John Hutchens, Patient Advisor
  • David Hillis, Patient Advisor
  • Retha Keys, Patient Advisor
  • Ruth Leggett, Patient Advisor
  • Angie McMillen, Patient Advisor
  • Karen Simmons, Patient Advisor
  • Harland Simmons, Patient Advisor
  • Henry Skinner, Patient Advisor
  • Frank Tier, Patient Advisor
  • Melissa Thomason, Patient Advisor
  • Heather Wilkerson, Patient Advisor
  • Geri Wright, Patient Advisor
  • Niti Armistead, MD, FACP, Medical Director, Quality Clinical Associate