2015 JQS Award Finalist, JQS2015

The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania


The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) developed a successful patient and family engagement program to support patient-centric care by Pennsylvania hospitals. HAP’s program:

  • First state association to establish a patient/family engagement advisory council.
  • Incorporated patient/family engagement in its hospital engagement network contract.
  • Developed an electronic tool for hospitals to assess their success in patient/family engagement.
  • Partnered with the Pennsylvania Library Association to engage consumers in health care.
  • Developed a guidebook for member use in developing patient/family engagement.
  • Added individuals to the HAP Board of Directors to assure the presence of patient voices in policy deliberations.
  • Incorporated the patient voice on its website and strategic plan.


Nomination Narrative

HAP’s strategic plan envisions moving from a hospital-centric model of care to a patient-centric, population health model. Engaging patients and their families is a cornerstone strategy from which HAP developed a comprehensive, ground-breaking program during 2013-2015 to support its members as they transform care.


  • Establishing the first state hospital association patient/family engagement advisory council, providing patients and families a voice and the opportunity for providers to hear that voice. The council enabled HAP to be a “multiplier” by inclusion of community members that allow outreach to settings beyond the hospital’s four walls.
  • Developing an assessment tool for member hospitals for use in identifying current practices, assessing needs, and measuring outcomes. Hospitals can use this tool at any time. HAP gathers input from the tool for its program planning by the advisory council.
  • Engaging the Pennsylvania Library Association in an “Engage for Health” campaign for libraries and local hospitals to teach consumers how to take responsibility for their own health care. HAP conducted a train-the-trainer session at the library association’s annual meeting and distributed the toolkit to all of its members to interact with their local libraries.

These innovative approaches enable sustainability of patient and family engagement, as well as serving as models that can be replicated in communities, as well as by other state associations.

HAP’s program supported TRANSFORMATION and SYSTEMS CHANGE by:

  • Integrating patient and family engagement in the Pennsylvania Hospital Engagement Network (PA-HEN)—funded under the Partnership for Patients initiative—to reduce harm and readmissions.This transformed the approach of hospitals from “doing to” patients to “partnering with” patients.
  • Incorporating patients in education and webinars under PA-HEN and a patient/family engagement track at HAP’s annual Patient Safety Symposium.
  • Developing strategies to support members in becoming more consumer-focused.The program established the relevant ground work for advancing patient engagement at Pennsylvania hospitals.

To enable program success in engaging patients and families, HAP COLLABORATED with:

  • The Pennsylvania Library Association to launch the “Engage for Health” campaign.
  • Planetree to offer their digital magazine to hospitals through HAP’s website.
  • Quality Insights of Pennsylvania on a webinar “Engaging Patients and Families: Another Tool in the Infection Prevention Battle.”
  • A Partnerships for Patients’ affinity group and served as a presenter in a master class webinar on “sustainable best practices.”

These approaches helped HAP align its efforts in meaningful ways with other organizations focused on advancing patient and family engagement.

HAP provides COMMUNICATION on successful patient/family engagement with its 235 hospital and health system members through:

  • A leadership panel at regional workshops to demonstrate value of patient and family engagement.
  • Issuing a guidebook, accessible on HAP’s website, that includes replicable policies, procedures, and other tools.
  • Sharing best practice case studies from Pennsylvania hospitals.
  • Posting a consumer-focused blog during Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month.
  • Developing video vignettes on the value of taking proactive stances on one’s health care.
  • The approach is to disseminate information demonstrating proven results and providing tools that allow replication and sustainability.

HAP’s patient and family engagement initiative has served as an INSPIRATION to others:

  • PA-HEN provided a success story to a Partnership for Patient affinity group and inclusion on the partnership’s community of practice website.
  • PA-HEN developed “Safety Across the Board” awards for participating hospitals at HAP’s annual patient safety symposium to recognize improvement efforts, including patient engagement.
  • Adding several individuals that will bring a patient voice to HAP’s Board of Directors, HAP serves as a role model for other associations and its members.

Sustaining achievements over time and making sure that patient and family engagement is aligned with other objectives requires demonstrated leadership.


HAP and its member hospitals have achieved significant results in engaging patients and family members in improving health care. These include:

  • Hospitals participating in PA-HEN improved their overall patient and family engagement scores using a methodology developed by the Partnership for Patients from a baseline of 1.67 out of 5 to 3.16 out of 5. This is a 47 percent improvement over two years (2103-2014).
  • Conducting a successful regional workshop in 2014, on effective communication which received high ratings by participants, who reflected that the ideas shared will improve their patient/family engagement effectiveness. Three workshops are scheduled in 2015.
  • PA-HEN received a Caregiver Action Network award in 2014, “Advancing Excellence: Outstanding Best Practices in Patient and Family Engagement” and is on their list of 25 best practices.
  • HAP president being the only hospital association representative to participate in the Moore Foundation national convening.

In addition, the following are reflective of the profound personal and professional value from HAP’s patient and family engagement program:

“HAP empowered me to tell my family’s story and have the ability to encourage health care providers to see the patient as a person first.” – Linda Miller, Patient/Family Member representative.

A HAP workshop “made me stop and think that we need to remember the basics and why as providers we were called into health care—to make a difference and touch someone. To do so, we need to ask ‘what did you hope for when you were a patient or family member and how did that feel?’ Then, we can work to ensure that our patients and their families experience what we would want for ourselves.” – Becky Ruckno, Director, Patient Experience, Geisinger Northeast.