Potential for arrogance
Barbara Balik, a senior faculty member of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and a former quality executive with Allina Hospitals and Clinics in Minnesota, was on the AHRQ task force that developed the prototype concept three years ago.
She says research shows that even though patients may not understand the inner workings of the healthcare system, "when they get some signals that something in their care isn't going well, there's a strong correlation with the quality and outcomes of care."
She adds, "I think there's the potential for arrogance on the healthcare provider side, to say that patients don't know what they're talking about. Yes they do. They know what it sounds like, looks like, and feels like from their standpoint, and that's the voice we have to hear. It's an amazing source of insight and advantage that we can take advantage of."
AHRQ officials can't yet say precisely when or where the prototype will be launched, but I'll be looking to see how care might improve as a result.
As Foster says, "until we try, we really won't know."