LISTEN LIVE: All Things Considered
LISTEN LIVE: All Things Considered



This article is more than 13 years old.

Discussions of health care quality often center on physicians and hospitals, with too little attention to patients and their families. But one local organization, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, has put patients exactly where they belong in the quality movement: everywhere.

Readers of this blog are likely familiar with the tragic series of errors that led to chemotherapy overdoses at Dana Farber in 1994. What you may be less familiar with is Dana Farber’s exceptional commitment to patient and family-centered care, a commitment which grew even stronger as they worked to ensure those tragedies would never be repeated.

For their focus on empowering patients and their families to be active participants in their own care and in decision-making across the organization, BCBSMA was proud yesterday to present Dana Farber with the second Health Care Excellence Award.

Today, patient engagement and empowerment at Dana Farber permeates the organization, from the bedside to the boardroom.
o Patients and families sit on 93 different hospital committees, making recommendations and participating in decision-making.
o Patients are asked and encouraged to review lists of their medications and allergies, to identify and correct discrepancies.
o The “You CAN” campaign encourages patients to Check medications, Ask questions, and Notify staff of changes in treatment, giving patients the tools – and the permission – to be more involved with their own care.

BCBSMA commends Dana Farber for the cultural transformation they have achieved. They have bravely welcomed a new perspective – one that offers first hand knowledge of how things work and, more importantly, how they can work better. Our congratulations to everyone – doctors, nurses, administrators, and patients and families – who have been part of this remarkable effort.

Andrew Dreyfus is Executive Vice President for Health Care Services at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and former President of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.

This program aired on April 15, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.