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New Volunteer Roles for Patients and Family Members

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Alan Dubovsky, chief patient experience officer, is launching new volunteer roles for patients and their family members.

Feedback from patients and their family members is critical to improve patient satisfaction and services across the organization. To broaden opportunities for feedback, Patient Experience is launching two new, volunteer-based roles for patient and family advisors: experience collaborators and committee members.

"We are thrilled to expand how we bring in the patient voice," said Alan Dubovsky, chief patient experience officer. "These direct engagement opportunities will provide valuable insight into areas that may need improvement or better efficiencies."

Four individuals were selected to serve as patient and family advisors (PFAs) on committees—two supporting ambulatory care areas and two supporting inpatient care areas. Every month, PFAs will sit alongside an existing group of Cedars-Sinai leaders, including hospital administration and nursing, to advocate for patient and family needs. The first-time PFAs will join an inpatient care meeting on Feb. 19, and Feb. 28 for ambulatory care.

A total of 16 individuals were selected to serve as patient and family experience collaborators and will come together for the first time on Feb. 13. These meetings, which will be held every other month and facilitated by Performance Improvement, will dive deeper into current processes, then solicit feedback on improvement opportunities. The Feb. 13 meeting will focus on care transitions.

"Until now, we’ve had several patient and family advisory councils, but they represented only a fraction of the departments and services we offer," said Joey Anda, program manager in Patient Experience. "This year, we wanted to elevate and enhance our efforts and give patients new ways to make their voices heard."

Each year, the Patient Experience team distributes surveys to patients treated at Cedars-Sinai, and in 2018, received roughly 134,000 responses. Of these respondents, nearly 1,500 contribute feedback on a more regular basis through an online patient panel. This group was sent an additional survey, asking if they would be interested in coming onsite to collaborate with Cedars-Sinai teams in a more meaningful way. The Patient Experience team received more than 100 willing volunteers.

Before assuming their roles, the 20 selected advisors and committee members will first be onboarded as volunteers through Volunteer Services. This hands-on training will provide a broad, overarching understanding of Cedars-Sinai’s mission and goals and provide context for future discussions.

"These new roles will not only provide that platform, but also allow participants to give back in a more meaningful way," added Dubovsky.