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Hear the Stories, Change the Practice, Change Patient Experiences…
Friday, November 26th, 2010

The best way to improve services is to listen to people’s experiences and their ideas, then use these as inputs for change….

We’re really pleased to be working with The Change Foundation on a new public engagement initiative.

If you’ve never heard of the Foundation before, I’d encourage you to learn more about them.  They are an Ontario think tank whose mission is to improve the health-care experience of individuals and caregivers as they move in, out of, and across the health-care system.  They do great work and are staffed by a dedicated and creative team.

Making the case for public engagement can be hard.  Sometimes, people have trouble seeing the benefits or understanding the need to talk to stakeholders the public directly.  From our perspective, though, it’s the people who use or even deliver programs or services who are best situated to identify problems and potential solutions.

We’re working with The Change Foundation to design new ways to help them engage caregivers and individual patients using social media and other involvement tools or techniques.

The reason we are partnering with them in this effort comes straight from their new strategic plan, and offers one of the clearest and most powerful cases for public engagement I think I’ve ever read:

We’ve set our sights on improving people’s experiences as they move through Ontario’s health-care system. Instead of being shuffled back and forth, people need to be connected to quality care and support wherever they are, clear about whom to turn to and talk to, assured of what comes next.

We will listen to the lived realities of caregivers and their loved ones who need help and health care.  We’ll hear–and heed–what their experience tells us must be done.  We’ll engage with the stewards, stakeholders and users of our health-care system, sharing what we’ve learned on the ground, using evidence, analysis and argument to incite change.

And it won’t come at all if we don’t change the debate, change the practice, change the experience.

The basic message is this.  You can’t make a change unless you understand people’s experiences and their ideas for improvement.

– Ellis Westwood –

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