The Patient Perspective: Patient Advisors in Island Health

Island Health’s commitment is to put patients and their families at the heart of every interaction by inviting them to be partners in their care and ensuring they play an integral role in decision-making. Simply put, this means listening to and involving patients and the public in planning, decision making and, of course, in their care.

The perspective of patients and/or family members can contribute a great deal to how health care is delivered. The patient and family perspective can support understanding whether care is being tailored to specific needs, if questions and concerns are being appropriately addressed, and if the system is working well for patients and families.

Patient involvement and engagement supports two–way interaction between Island Health and the people we serve when planning for and making decisions about health services that affect patients and families. Patient engagement encompasses a variety of activities, one of which is the role of the Patient Advisor. The goal is to ensure that decisions respect patients’ needs, values and preferences and provide patients with information, knowledge and support to participate in their care as they choose.

What is a Patient Advisor?

A Patient Advisor is an individual who acts as a resource for Island Health teams by providing feedback, guidance and support based on their experiences as an individual, patient or family member. A Patient Advisor can be a member of a group, council or committee where people meet to provide advice or to accomplish a specific set of tasks.

What is an Advisory Council or Committee?

Patient AdvisorsAdvisory councils or committees vary depending on their purpose, the complexity of their task (e.g. some groups meet to accomplish a specific thing while others to support strategic direction for a complex set of services. Membership may also vary (e.g. staff, patients and public or community organizations), and the proportion of each group on the committee will also vary, depending on the group’s purpose.

Patient advisory councils or committees may be identified by several different names, such as Program Advisory, Health Service Working Group, Working Group/Focus Group, Program Quality Council/Committee or Steering Committee.

Where do we see Patient Advisor Activities in Island Health?

Patient AdvisorsThe patient or family perspective is seen in a variety of Island Health activities, including:

  •  Contributing to the development of the Island Health Electronic Health Record
  • Providing feedback for the Island Health Falls Prevention Strategy
  • Participating in the Senior Leadership Retreat
  • Participating on organizational Interview Panels looking to hire Senior Executives and other leaders
  • Participating in Integration of Primary and Home and Community Care working groups
  • Participating in End of Life community – specific working groups
  • Participating in the Smoking Cessation campaign
  • Facility Planning, e.g., North Island Hospitals and Victoria General Master Site Planning
  • Reviewing printed patient teaching information

How is the Patient Perspective Supporting IHealth?

Patient AdvisorsPatient partners have been involved since early in the IHealth journey. Members of the IHealth Patient Advisory team have participated in governance meetings, education, evaluation, workflow and process mapping as well as the creation of a future, interactive patient view within the electronic health record. Patient involvement will continue throughout the development and implementation phases of the IHealth transition.

IHealth staff and physician team members are excited to be collaborating with patients to ensure voices are heard, ideas are included and that the future is grounded in a mutually beneficial partnership.