2014 JQS Award Nominee, JQS2014

Paul McGann, MD and Dennis Wagner, MPA, National Partnership for Patients


Dr. McGann and Dennis Wagner thoughtfully led the charge for advancing patient and family engagement (PFE) in the over 3,000 hospitals participating in the National Partnership for Patients. They crafted metrics for determining the level of PFE at hospitals. They have created infrastructure to support hospitals in achieving the aims of greater engagement. Hospitals have responded with significant increases in patient representation on Boards of Trustees, on Advisory Councils, on Quality and Safety Committees and in clinical practice. Dr. Paul McGann and Dennis Wagner have provided exemplary leadership in patient and family engagement.


Dr. Paul McGann and Dennis Wagner, as co-directors of the National Partnership for Patients, have said, “Patients and their families are essential partners in the effort to improve the quality and safety of health care. Their participation as active members of their own health care team is an essential component of making care safer and reducing readmission.”

“Robust efforts to engage patients and families in their care are woven throughout all aspects of the Partnership for Patients to achieve system-wide adoption of patient and family engagement best practices.”

“A 2008 study demonstrated measurable benefits to providing patient-centered care with a positive impact on patient satisfaction, length of stay, and cost per case. By improving communication with patients, via providers at the bedside or institutionally through committees focused on systemic changes in patient care, patient outcomes can and will improve.”

“There is a tremendous amount of great work under way at hospitals across the country to advance patient and family engagement. The task is not to reinvent the wheel, but to instead leverage existing networks, tools, and resources to drive faster and farther toward common patient safety goals. The Partnership is continually identifying, disseminating, and spreading patient and family engagement best practices to the over 3,700 hospitals that are members of the Hospital Engagement Network (HEN).”

By developing metrics to specifically quantify patient and family engagement, Dr. McGann and Dennis Wagner led a transformation in how hospitals look at PFE. A recent HEN leader commented, “Now our CEO is involved, whereas before, PFE wasn’t really on his radar.” Boards of Trustees are also more involved in patient and family engagement. The Partnership for Patients has shown hospitals how engaging patients and family members can help increase safety across the board. More and more, patients and families are becoming integral collaborators on Quality and Safety Committees.

Few leaders have been able to leverage such a transformative effort. McGann and Wagner combine many motivational techniques to help move the fulcrum of change. They are part managers, part cheerleaders, part prodders and always leaders acting as a team to achieve safer healthcare. They embody the spirit of the John Q. Sherman Award.


To date, improvement in the PFE metrics among HEN hospitals has been five fold. Significantly more hospitals are looking at ways to meaningfully engage families in their work. Numerous patient advocate stories have been highlighted nationally, showcasing for hospitals how to use the patient experience to inform and motivate safety work.


Lisa Morrise The Partnership for Patients initiative is a public-private partnership working to improve the quality, safety and affordability of health care for all Americans. It has over 3,700 participating hospitals are focused on making hospital care safer, more reliable, and less costly: Twenty-six state, regional, national and hospital system organizations serve as Hospital Engagement Networks (HENs), helping identify solutions already working to reduce hospital-acquired conditions, and spread them to other hospitals and healthcare providers. In parallel, 47 sites participate in the Community-based Care Transitions Program which tests models for improving care transtions.

Lisa Morrise has 1 post(s) at EngagingPatients.org