This weekend I received a note of support for my new book that moved me, partly because of who it was from, but also because he gets it: patient engagement isn’t just about care providers listening to patients. Patients need to be engaged – to get it in gear – to speak up about what they want, and be active partners in their care.
The note came from Jim Conway, one of my greatest inspirations in this journey:
While I am a confirmed fanatic of patient and family centered care, and would endorse the book enthusiastically for that, I read it as much this week as a patient. I’ve been having some problems with my diabetes and blood sugar—nothing big—and it triggered strong reflections on my care partnership and my role also as a member of my team.
Much like you, I have a strong team with access to great info (Open Notes and PatientSite). Yet like many healthcare professionals, I can move into a shell, or even sulk, when it is about me. The Ten Fundamental Truths About Health and Care not only confronts the license we all have to be engaged in our own care but also comfortably helps us use it for a collective good.
Thanks to you and Danny for a job well done on a journey we all must take.
And please, tell friends … and your contacts in medicine. It’s concise, designed to be worth the time for every reader, patient and clinician alike. It really could help improve health and care.
If you don’t know Jim …
…here’s a taste of his work with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement that shows up when you google “Jim Conway IHI” –
- Respectful Management of Serious Clinical Adverse Events – an IHI Perspective (lead author; 2010)
- Strategies for Leadership: Hospital Executives and Their Role in Patient Safety (2011)
He was present four years ago at my first paid speaking engagement, the IHI / ICSI Colloquium, in St. Paul, and made a point of coming up to me when nobody else had heard of me, and encouraging me. He knows what he’s talking about when it comes to understanding the complexity of medicine – another IHI report, Leadership Guide to Patient Safety (2005), opens with this wise quote:
“Our systems are too complex to expect merely extraordinary people to perform perfectly 100 percent of the time. We as leaders have a responsibility to put in place systems to support safe practice.”
— James Conway, IHI Senior Fellow; former Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
His own father died of poor care in a Boston hospital, yet he approaches improving medicine with compassion. And people listen. I’m honored that he sees such value in this little book, and I hope many will listen to its message too.