Patient Family & Community Engagement | Patient and Care Partners

Quality & Clinical Excellence: Four Ways of Promoting Co-design

This is the second blog in a series of eight by The Beryl Institute’s Global Patient & Family Advisory Board (GPFAB). The intent of this series is to present our perspective on patients’ and families’ lived experience for each of the strategic lenses of The Beryl Institute’s Experience Framework. The Experience Framework is a community-developed tool that acknowledges the integrated nature of healthcare experience and is comprised of eight strategic lenses that help shape patient experience efforts.

Quality & Clinical Excellence: The Why

Patient and family experience encompasses all individual encounters and the expectations they have for safe, quality, reliable, and effective care focused on positively impacting health and well-being. When all experiences are looked at as human experiences, quality and clinical excellence become the guiding factors to effective co-design. With this understanding, quality and clinical improvement leaders will invite patient and family partners to share their experiences with them as they transform the human experience.

Impact Statement

When clinical care is excellent, the expectations of patients and families for safe, high-quality healthcare are met, fostering confidence, building trust and cultivating organizational loyalty.


Quality and clinical excellence can only be achieved by looking at patient-centered outcomes through the eyes of not only clinicians and staff but also through the lens of patients and families. Every day, new stories are told in healthcare. The goal is to tell stories of quality and clinical excellence rather than stories of medical harm or error.

One of the best ways healthcare organizations can promote quality and clinical excellence is by inviting patient and family partners with lived experience to participate in every quality improvement endeavor that they are undertaking. When a healthcare organization has a patient/family advisor involved with every department of the organization, this can be achieved very easily. When the department is working on a quality improvement project, such as reducing healthcare-acquired infections by improving hand hygiene, the patient’s voice would be part of the discussion. Their stories will help drive home the importance of the quality improvement plan and how patients are impacted when clinical practices aren’t of the highest quality.

With co-design as their guiding principle, there are four key approaches the healthcare community can consider to ensure quality and clinical excellence.

  1. Build and sustain an operating Patient & Family Advisory Council

Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) are very important to developing a strong advisory program for every department of the healthcare organization. When the PFAC is committed to quality and clinical excellence, their input will be critical to promoting patient-centered outcomes for every quality improvement project within the healthcare community. Their lived experience will help promote the human experience in healthcare through quality and clinical excellence.

  1. Include The Beryl Institute’s Experience Framework in your strategy

If co-design is intentional, innovative and collaborative, healthcare systems will be able to integrate principles of quality, safety, engagement and well-being into their decision-making. These collaborations should consist of staff, patient/family advisors and community stakeholders. When this type of human-centered co-design is used, it ensures consistent and equitable systems of quality and clinical improvements that are personalized while inspiring confidence in clinicians, staff and patients/families.

  1. Engage patients and families directly in the healthcare community’s outreach programs

Healthcare organizations need to solicit and act on feedback from patients, families, community members and staff at each care journey touchpoint regarding outcomes that matter. It is important to involve all of these stakeholders to develop and apply standardized measures and tools for continuous quality and clinical improvement.

  1. Engage patients and families in the training of healthcare providers and staff through storytelling

Every day, patients and families share stories that can and should lead to improved quality and clinical excellence. Encourage them to share their stories with purpose. What that means is allowing the stories to become the data that leads to new knowledge which ultimately creates a change in the actions of clinicians, staff and patients. These actions will lead to improved patient-centered outcomes, and the cycle comes full circle with new stories that inform us with expanded knowledge. Sharing of stories with a purpose also leads to co-design workflows that promote a partnership among patients, families, healthcare professionals and communities.

Patient and family partners play a role in the co-design of systems, processes and behaviors to deliver the best human experience. Co-design should be intentional, innovative and collaborative. By using quality and clinical excellence to guide the collaboration, systems can integrate the principles of quality, safety, engagement and well-being into all healthcare is and does.

Human-centered co-design is ensured when all stakeholders are at the quality and clinical improvement table. If the goal is to create consistent and equitable systems, then patient and family advisors must be part of every quality/excellence and improvement conversation. When human-centered co-design is the goal, the future will be filled with patient and family stories that feature experiences that will positively affect overall health and well-being of those served by healthcare.

Author Bio:

Rosie is a widow, mother, grandmother and an educator. In August of 2009 she underwent a total right knee replacement that developed into a MRSA staph infection. This healthcare-acquired infection has led to 58 surgeries, over 200 hospitalizations, 100 blood transfusions, a right leg amputation six inches above the knee, and a total hip amputation with the removal of part of her pelvic bone. Rosie has  experienced sepsis and septic shock fourteen times in her health journey.

As she continues to battle this infection in her body, Rosie is driven to share her story of survival. Every day she uses her story to advise or advocate for others. She believes in helping patients and caregivers find their voices. As an educator, she has used stories to teach children and adults. Today, she uses her story to co-design with medical professionals and researchers and to advise and advocate for patients and their caregivers.

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