Pulse CPSEA Launches a New Kind of Patient Safety Education

"Patient Activation Through Community Conversations" helps people learn from each other.

On a recent afternoon, half a dozen people met around a table at a church in southern Nassau County to share stories about their experiences — good or bad — in using the healthcare system.

This was the first of what organizers hope will be a whole series of curated small gatherings called “Patient Activation Through Community Conversations” (PACC) in which people learn from each others’ tales of medical care done wrong — or right.

"I always missed the mutual education that happens when people share their real-life stories."

Ilene Corina, President, PULSE Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy

Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy founder and President Ilene Corina says, “When I started Pulse some thirty years ago, it was as a support group for survivors of medically-caused injury and the families of those who had died as a result of medical error, as my son did. Over the years, Pulse evolved into a patient safety advocacy training organization staffed by experts. But I always missed the mutual education that happens when people share their real-life stories.”

How it works

Community Conversations aren’t free-for-alls: they have structure, and a few rules. Unsolicited advice, for example, is banned. The idea is to tell what happened to you, not to tell others what they should do. Let them take from it what they will, and if someone asks for advice, fine. There are also a few rules to ensure courteous and civil conversation.

At the start of the meeting, participants anonymously choose several topics they’d like to discuss from a list. These can be topics they have some experience of, or topics they’d like to learn about. In the inaugural meeting, for instance, the most popular questions were: 

·       Did you ever ask for a second opinion and if so, how did you find it?
·       What do you think is a reasonable wait at the doctor’s office? Have you ever walked out because you waited too long? Did you make another appointment?
·       Do you read the warnings about your medications including over-the-counter meds? Have you ever been surprised?

Ilene Corina adds, “I hope the people who attend our new ‘Community Conversations’ groups learn something practical that may help them improve the quality of their care.”

PACC groups ideally consist of between six and twelve people plus a trained facilitator provided by Pulse CPSEA, and can be held anywhere a suitable room is available. PACC discussions are appropriate for people sharing a similar diagnosis or illness, friends and family members mixed, or any community of people willing to share their stories and to learn from others in order to improve their own healthcare experiences.

To host a PACC contact Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy at (516) 579-4711.

Source: Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy