Earlier this year, I had the privilege of attending a Patients Voices Network (PVN) training session. PVN is a program that recruits, trains and supports patients and their families to participate in primary health care changes. For an interesting and informative overview about their work, see the video below which is also on their website.
PVN provides impressive opportunities for consumer participation:
- An online community or virtual network of patients that register to provide input through response to surveys
- Activated network of trained patients who can be involved at three levels:
- Shaping the system: participating in focus groups, patient advisory committees and panel discussions; patient journey mapping
- Community Activation: working in patients’ local communities to improve primary health care
- Peer to Peer Coaching: supporting and motivating individuals to achieve healthy living goals.
One point that stood out for me was the positive approach that was emphasized by PVN. Patients’ may first be compelled to become activated members of PVN due to negative experiences with the healthcare system. While their frustration is understandable, it is important that theyare motivated by a desire to provide constructive feedback rather than hostile criticism.
Another highlight of the workshop was listening to Johanna Trimble speak about her involvement with PVN and what she has learned along the way. She had many positive experiences to relate but also cautioned participants to be balanced and acknowledge their limitations ie. not to volunteer for each and every opportunity. Johanna, a steering committee member, has spoken at international conferences about her experience with the health care system and her presentation Is Your Mom on Drugs? – Find out what to do about it” is most compelling.