I’m always on the hunt for articles or news stories dealing with women’s health, especially heart disease, as well as anything to do with those issues surrounding advocating for oneself. Although they are rare, they are out there, you just have to look harder sometimes.
As stated in an earlier post, The Tennessean recently had an article entitled, “Hospitals Look To Patients, Family For Voice on Experience,” and through my Blog, I encouraged everyone to get involved. That meant me as well!
I was turned down by LifePoint’s “patient and family advisory initiative,” due to me not having ever been a patient in one of their hospitals. I jokingly offered to have a heart attack and be transported to one of “their” hospitals if that what it would help get my foot in the door…thank God the lady I spoke with had a good sense of humor! So instead I tried another approach stating , REALLY??!!! I’ve been a patient, many times might I add…that should count for something. A patient, is a patient, is a patient, and any information that patient can share, whether one of their hospitals is involved or not, is a moot point. That input just might help them to become more proactive, rather than reactive, instead of waiting to see what a patient’s satisfaction rating is, after the fact.
Next stop….St. Thomas Health. They had recently begun a “patient advocacy committee,” so, not being shy, I called. After being transferred several times, I found the right person, and she was more than worth the wait. I had liked what she stated in the article, “When we look at feedback from patients about where we have opportunities…a lot of times it’s around communication.” Amen Sista!!! Communication!!! Communication between the patient and the physician, although preferably before the “feedback,” is paramount to both sides. The patient wants to feel better, and the physician wants to, at least most of them, help the patient feel better. Without communication, I can guarantee that’s not going to happen.
I reached out to St. Thomas’ Chief Experience Officer, explaining why I knew I could, and would, be an important asset to their committee, especially if given an opportunity to work with St. Thomas Heart. We talked for a while, and it only took one day before being invited to their August patient advocacy committee…I’M NOW INVOLVED!!!
Previously I had worked diligently with a wonderful young lady at Vanderbilt Heart, trying to get them involved through a partnership with both WomenHeart and our local WomenHeart Support Group. Sadly, after over two years of trying to make this happen, politics, once again, reared it’s ugly head, alleviating any chance for a partnership to take place.
I approached Williamson County’s Cardiac/Pulmonary Rehab Unit, with the same result…no. The ladies working in the Unit loved the idea, but the higher-ups nixed the proposal to work together. It was bad enough that a partnership could not be formed, but when I requested at least a tour for my WomenHeart Support Group, I was turned down…one of my Support Group attendees was already a patient there, and still, no….ahhhhh, the politics, even when people’s lives hang in the balance.
When it comes to partnering with the medical world in the greater Nashville area, I’ve been turned down more in the last 4 1/2 years, than the bedding in my home!
So, THANK YOU St. Thomas for “getting it!” For being proactive instead of reactive, and for truly caring about your patients concerns. It is my HONOR to partner with you!