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Patient Experience Case Study - Stanford’s Cancer Center South Bay
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Optimizing Patient and Family Involvement to Support a Maturing Cancer Center

What was the challenge, opportunity or issue faced?

This case study focuses on a brief overview of Stanford’s Cancer Center South Bay and the Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) development and strengthening through organizational alignment to enhance the patient experience.

With the vision of healing humanity through science and compassion, one patient at a time, Stanford Health Care recognized the need for expanded cancer care in the southern Bay Area. In partnership with the local community, patients and caregivers, Stanford’s Cancer Center South Bay (CCSB) opened in July 2015 in San Jose, California. To ensure that all aspects of the design and planning process were approached with a patient-centered lens, a PFAC was formed to bring together patients and caregivers with a range of experiences living with and beyond cancer. During the planning process, PFAC members played an instrumental role in working side-by-side with architects, clinicians, administrators and information technology staff to develop new workflows and paths of travel as well as designing elements that contribute to the healing environment of the physical space and culture.

Now, two and a half years into the journey, we find that the infrastructure, operations and culture at CCSB have been established. This stabilization has paved the path for new opportunities to collaborate and increase the role of our PFAC as we strive to deliver superlative patient care. While the PFAC continues to partner with the CCSB leadership team, their role has inevitably evolved from the early days of design and planning to align with the needs of a maturing organization. Transitioning from a very visible role, with the “all-hands-on-deck” focus required to open and establish operations in a new facility, to one that works to continuously improve day-to-day operations, has been a challenging shift for our PFAC. To continue harnessing the invaluable patient experience insight that our PFAC members provide, the CCSB leadership embarked on a year-long journey to reinvigorate our PFAC through alignment of organizational goals.

What did you do to address it?

The PFAC, in partnership with CCSB leadership, participated in a series of strategic planning sessions to align PFAC efforts with those of the larger organization to integrate the patient and family voice into every aspect of our culture. By aligning PFAC initiatives with the organization, the PFAC members are reminded that their efforts are critical in driving forward organizational goals to enhance the patient experiences.

Because our PFAC members have either battled cancer or have taken care of a loved one fighting cancer, they represent the voice of the patient and provide valuable insight and feedback that might otherwise be missed. The PFAC initiatives ranged from a focus in quality and safety, patient experience, staff satisfaction, operational excellence, and finance. Through working group sessions, the PFAC and CCSB leaders met regularly to drive forward these goals, reporting out on progress monthly.

What outcomes were achieved?

The following outcomes have been achieved as a result of our Fiscal Year 2017 strategy planning:

  • Developed effective strategies and tools to support the evolving role of the PFAC in a maturing organization. For example, PFAC has been involved in 100% of staff hiring interviews (400+ interviews), and they have shared input on 20+ critical workflow changes – including OR pre/post op space utilization and other process improvement initiatives.
  • Created a renewal program for the CCSB Guiding Principles, originally designed by the PFAC to ensure commitment from CCSB staff in partnering with patients, families and colleagues to create an experience that improves the collective health and well-being of patients.
  • Developed working group to bring first CCSB peer-to-peer program for caregivers and patients.
  • Increased the Likelihood To Recommend (LTR) scores to the 98th percentile throughout the facility.
  • Continue to retain existing PFAC members and onboard new members previously treated at CCSB. Developed mentorship program for new PFAC members.
  • Provided feedback on new CCSB café vendor, including food and beverage selection to better meet the needs of oncology patients and family members.
  • Advised on clinical staff realignment to better serve new and existing patients.

As 2017 came to an end, CCSB leadership and the PFAC participated in a team building reflection exercise to set the stage for establishing next year’s goals and initiatives. Through reflections on what worked well and what could be improved, the PFAC is stronger than ever in moving forward as a unified body to support the needs of our patients. Looking ahead this year, our PFAC will be invaluable as Stanford expands their Cancer Network footprint by growing the CCSB practice with the addition of three new physicians, staff and patients. The PFAC’s engagement and input on clinical space options and workflows will be vital to the success of this expansion. As we gear up for the Fiscal Year 2018 strategy planning sessions, we will apply the valuable lessons learned from our PFAC around what it means to evolve the role of a maturing patient and family partnership to ensure engagement at any stage of organizational growth. 

About Stanford Cancer Center South Bay

Stanford Cancer Center is recognized worldwide for our advanced clinical care, scientific research and technological inventions. It's all available at our newest location, Stanford Cancer Center South Bay. Stanford Cancer Center South Bay offers world-class care in a patient-friendly setting. With the goal of creating the optimal treatment environment, we asked cancer patients to help us design the kind of facility they wanted for themselves. The result: A state-of-the-art medical building, arranged for comfort and efficiency, where we offer coordinated, convenient, patient-centered care in a single location. From diagnosis through treatment, service and support delivery, and lifelong follow-up care; it's all here. We offer diagnostic imaging, infusion therapy, radiation therapy, surgical treatment options and support services. We treat every aspect of you – mind, body and spirit.

Case Study Authored by: Shiva Modarresi – Cancer Network Program Manager, Sara Malm, RN, BSN – Clinic Operations Manager and Nancy Dickenson, MLIS – Patient Experience Supervisor

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