It was nice to drive past Portland on my way to work today, to the Red Lion Inn in Vancouver, Washington, on the Columbia River. Our Primary Care team from the Portland VA Medical Center enjoyed a rare day off campus, together, for Team Building Training. Our team – several residents included – joined care teams from satellite clinics (in Hillsboro, West Linn, Bend, East Portland & Vancouver).
Referred to as Patient Centered Medical Home elsewhere, VA calls this PACT or Patient Aligned Care Teams. In my few years at Portland VA, I’ve experienced welcome, palpable shifts towards working on a Team.
Highlights were from VA patients. These adept patient advocates stood front & center and shared their Patient Voice. Patients Included!
Scott Silva and Priscilla Thompson
Priscilla Thompson, retired from the Navy as an Aviation Electronic Technician, said ‘patients do OK if they’re healthy but if things go south, it’s another story.’ She shared her story about a doctor calling on a Sunday night, concerned and instructing her to go to the hospital. Confronted with a difficult new diagnosis, she learned about her condition as well as the VA. A patient advocate on Portland VA committees, Priscilla gave recommendations to help patients be active members of the Team.
* Let me know the reason for this appointment or test;
* Let me share information before a visit (so the PCP knows..)
* Hand out that detailed After Visit Summary (it tells me what to do..)
* Let me see all my record information (get back to MyHealtheVet Pilot..)
* Know all about VA information & resources (help me get what I need..)
* Have staff available to answer questions (a human when I need one..)
* Let me get VA services in my community (make it convenient for me..)
Scott Silva is a VA patient and an employee — with a hugely valuable perspective from all ‘sides’. After serving as a Special Operations Medic, he is working as a Telehealth Coordinator. We talked at break about what’s coming down the pike: more and better remote services for hard-to-reach Veterans, delivered by a variety of staff, including specialists.
Sessions were expertly lead by Lisa Mazzia and Lori DeLeeuw from VHA National Center for Patient Safety. Brief talks and exercises had everyone focused on important things: how we communicate (or don’t), work as a team, make assumptions, respond to issues. When asked, What characteristic make a great Team? answers came quickly and repeated across the room: effective communication, great listening, be flexible, knowing each other and our roles, focus on patients, feeling content, know the mission. A list was dubbed Portland VA’s Dream Team.
It’s still early in this PACT journey, and today felt like we’re gaining traction and meaning. Skill-building is good for us team members, and we need to keep the pedal to the metal. We can’t do this without our #1 stakeholders, so lets make sure we =always= have Patients Included.
Patient Included Logo is from Lucien Engelen’s Patient Included Act – attend only conferences that include patients.