by Nancy Ryerson
, Staff Writer | October 31, 2013
From the October 2013 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Nemours Children’s Hospital recently won an award
from the Get Well Network, which creates interactive software to help patients become more involved in their care. Nemours earned its stripes by co-designing and implementing several new features to enhance the patient experience. Michael Campbell, director of patient and family centered care at Nemours, talked about the benefits of letting parents help hire their kids’ doctors, and other patient-centered initiatives the hospital has introduced.
What is your health care background?
My background is in behavioral health. I was a counselor working with moms and dads and kids on behavior change, managing mood disorders. Our niche is to work with kids who have chronic mental health and medical conditions, so that’s where I spent the majority of my time before I took this role.
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What does your role as director of patient- and family-centered care involve?
The philosophy of patient and family centered care is rooted in the idea that when you have patients and families engaged as members of the health care team, then the work product is better from a safety perspective, and patients and families have more buy-in and more ownership of being healthy.
My programs are focused on trying to make that union as front and center as it can possibly be within NCH, and we have several different programs that do that. I get to work with the child life specialist and the social workers in the hospital. Then we have our kids program that bridges nursing and social workers that do care coordination and help families get linked up to resources. We have service excellence connected with customer experience, and then a couple of advisory councils of family members as well as the youth that are here at NCH that kind of guide us.
Tell me about some of the initiatives that led to your excellence in interactive patient care award.
I think that the beauty of the Get Well Network is that it bridges the use of technology to help families be actively engaged in care. So if you think about the philosophy of patient- and family-centered care as predicated on the idea that families are experts, if the healthcare team can give those experts the opportunity to participate in the process, then it’s the tide that rises all ships. So the Get Well Network is a tool that helps us to engage families in some of that active process.
Have there been any challenges associated with getting families engaged?
Philosophically, many families aren’t accustomed to having their [opinion] asked for [or being] expected to participate. They tend to adopt more of a passive role, and I think traditionally, that’s how medicine has been practiced, so that’s understandable.