• Innovation in Action

Jul 10, 2024

Patient and Family Advisory Council’s Focus on Disparities Drives Improved Healthcare Experience

Evangelical for website

Evangelical Community Hospital’s commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives include recognizing, celebrating and learning about various cultures, backgrounds and histories of various colleagues and communities in its service area and beyond.

Updates to the hospital’s quality improvement program, which looks at racial and ethnic diversity with the goal of analyzing disparities in healthcare outcomes, is shared with Evangelical Community Hospital’s Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC). This council of current and former patients, their friends/family and caregivers, use this information for recommendations to improve patient resources and their healthcare experience.

Members include the mayor of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, where the hospital is located, a local clergy member, a midwife representing the Amish/Mennonite community, as well as several patients from different ethnicities, cultural backgrounds and sexual orientations.

Hospital representatives include the Director of Patient Experience and her team, the Vice President of Medical Affairs, Director of Acute Care, Director of Quality, Patient Safety and Risk Management, the Patient Safety Coordinator and a member of the Communications team.

The PFAC members review flyers, presentations, patient resources, marketing initiatives and more from a patient’s perspective to provide feedback that improves materials from a patient point of view. They also use their knowledge base to educate others within the greater community on hospital initiatives, services and programs.

The hospital undergoes a health needs assessment every three years to identify healthcare barriers in the communities it serves to guide actions moving forward. The needs assessment is shared with the PFAC for consideration.

To address transportation access to healthcare as a barrier as reported in the assessment, the hospital uses Mobile Health of Evangelical, a service created in 2018, to bring preventive and primary care services into their service area, providing health screenings, primary and specialty care, dental hygiene and health education. The PFAC uses their community knowledge and ties to provide feedback on where Mobile Health may be utilized to reach more individuals in need.

Stakeholders were also involved with the largest expansion of the hospital’s existence, assisting with the design of patient rooms, workflow and furniture choices. Since opening the new patient rooms, the hospital has achieved a 5-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

“The mission of Evangelical Community Hospital is to strive for excellence every day in the care and service provided to our patients, visitors and our community,” said Cathleen Lapchak, MJ, BSN CPHRM, now-retired Director of Quality Improvement, Patient Safety and Risk Management, at Evangelical Community Hospital. “Our Patient and Family Advisory Committee (PFAC) defines both a collaboration and commitment between our patients, their families, our community and the hospital to not only meet the healthcare needs of our population but to also hear their voice, listen to their concerns and implement their ideas to deliver excellence every day.”

Evangelical Community Hospital is a 2023 Health Quality Innovator of the Year award runner up in the Health Equity category. Click HERE to view their category or click HERE to read about all the winners and runners up.

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