Our mission and vision for the Patient Advisory Council is as follows:
partner with you, our patient, to be our teachers. To hear your voice, learn your opinion, identify your needs and to see the office experience from your
Vision: A practice culture that values the patient perspective within the practice.
What is the experience of being a patient in our office? Patients are valuable teachers from whom we can learn. In each of our meetings we asked our advisors to think broadly about the practice as a whole. We listened to the "voice of the patient" and made changes to our practice.
2014 April Meeting: Summary of main topics discussed
1. Billing statements are confusing and not always timely. The practice has since changed our billing company to resolve these issues.
2. The Patient Portal Tab was difficult to find on the website. We labeled it more prominently so you can find it.3. We needed to make our Portal instructions more clear - urgent messages should be called in to the office or answering service after hours.
1. Advisers informed the practice that “blast” messages about general health issues were not helpful. The practice has since stopped sending any general portal communications.
2 Advisers suggested an "agenda" for each office visit. The practice responded by posting an "Agenda" in each exam room asking: Is there anything else that you want to discuss with Dr. Mills today?
1. We "walked" through our website as a group. Advisers gave input such as more information on healthy meal preparation.
2. We distributed a Patient Education Handout to each of our Advisers and asked if these were useful, clear, easy to understand. Our Advisers indicated that these were helpful, clear and easy to understand. We will continue to develop similar tools.
1. We discussed our Relaxation Room and our Care Coordinator's project "The effect of the relaxation room on reducing blood pressure". We presented favorable results at a Medicare seminar in December, 2016.
2. We discussed ways to prevent illness and asked for suggestions from our Advisers. Suggestions included reminding patients when they are due and what is the recommended frequency for preventive measures such as colon screening, mammograms and pneumonia vaccines. We responded by developing an office posting called "Prevention Is Key". We added patient education on "Healthy Eating" and "Stress Reduction".
2016 May Meeting: Summary of main topics discussed:
We discussed "Pre-Visit
Planning" with our Advisers. Pre Visit Planning is a process of calling the
patient prior to the visit to prepare the patient for the discussion on prevention and other measures that
will be discussed in the visit. The patient can be sent information on the preventive tests and/or vaccinations that may be discussed in the
visit with Dr. Mills. All Advisers expressed that the Pre-Visit
planning process is useful and not a burden to them if they are reached on the
telephone. Our second topic was Advance Directives and POLST. All Advisers stated they had improved clarity on
Advance Directives and POLST following today’s discussion. For more information see the Advance Directives tab on our website or check out
One topic was "telephone etiquette" and importance of the reception Care Team attention to the personal needs of the caller. Our Care Team are educated to "escalate" phone calls for medication refills to Dr. Mills for advice and follow up. It is important for medications to be "followed" with an office visit for patient safety as dosage adjustments may be needed. Medications should be brought in to every visit in the original bottles so that an accurate reconciliation can be performed. Dr. Mills will always prescribe enough medication to make it to the next office visit safely.
Question to the Advisers: Is the information you receive what you need and want? And Do you feel there is time available for you to ask questions? Advisers answered yes to both of these questions. Finally we asked Advisers about opioid concerns in today's environment and all were in favor of pain education and medication safety agreements.
In this meeting our Advisors suggested that our Portal was not easy to navigate. We have since updated our Portal instruction handout for new patients. We asked our Advisors for suggestions on how to accomplish our quality initiatives, one of which is to help our patients who smoke stop smoking. We learned some valuable lessons from our Advisors who have have had family members quit the habit once and for all! Thank you Advisors!
2017 October Meeting: Summary of main topics discussed:
- How would you go about getting a prescription or your lab work sent to you? Portal or call the office. Care Team can FAX a prescription to the lab or pharmacy if a patient requests. Results of tests can also be seen on the Portal under “My Records”. Most Advisors not having difficulty with the Portal.
- When you are speaking to any member of our Care Team (including Dr. Mills) do you feel that we listen carefully to you? All Advisors answered yes. Several advisors agreed and said they always have a “list” ready to discuss. This topic led to a discussion about medication review by Dr. Mills. An outcome of this discussion was to improve education for patients on medication prescribing and safety.
- Do you feel that all members of our office team show respect for what you have to say? All Advisors answered yes. This led to a discussion of patient centered care and the right to have a different opinion about a medical subject and the obligation of the office to respect your choices even if they differ from our opinion.
- When you are in our office do you feel the Team spent enough time with you? All Advisors answered yes, they do not feel rushed.
- When you leave our office following an encounter, do you know what to do next and do you have an appointment card in hand? All Advisors answered yes. A written “plan” is provided in hard copy or sent to the Portal if needed. If a patient is referred to a specialist our Care Coordinator follows up to see if the appointment was completed.
- What is working or not working so well in the practice? Advisors asked if we do routine screenings such as balance or cognition. Screenings for balance are not done in this office; screenings for cognition are done based on assessment of need by Dr. Mills
- How are we doing? For the second time at a Patient Advisory Council meeting, the Care Team shared the most current measures of quality we are studying in our office for their input.
- Patient Advisors assisted with the final draft of Medication Safety education. In addition to reviewing prescribing policies, information was added on safe disposal of unused medications and sharps, hospice medications, reporting all medications taken including vitamins and over the counter medications. We hope to provide this useful tool to all new patients and to assist all patients in safe practices of taking medication.
- The second half of our meeting was devoted to reviewing our newest patient education update "Where Do I Go?"; a tool to help patients sort out when to call the office, when to go to an Urgent Care Walk In Center and when to go to the Emergency Room. We ended our meeting with Care Team members of the Meridian Hackensack System and local Urgent Care which is the newest resource in our Medical Neighborhood. Our guests elaborated on the times when Walk In care is appropriate- especially when our office is closed or on a holiday and when a true emergency occurs. Thank you Advisors and Guests!