• Patients in the hospital are often given little opportunity to participate in shared decisionmaking about their care—an experience that can be frustrating, confusing, and even frightening. A new tool, the Patient Passport, is designed to increase patient engagement and drive system-level change by helping patients start a conversation with providers in order to express their needs and preferences.

    Modeled on existing tools used by the United Kingdom’s National Health Service and the Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, the Patient Passport was developed in 2014 by a multistakeholder National Quality Forum (NQF) Action Team focused on promoting patient and family engagement in healthcare settings.

    Written in the patient’s voice, the Patient Passport uses pictures and simple language to start conversations and to help providers see their patients as persons with stories beyond their illnesses. The content and style are intended to make frontline staff’s work simpler and more effective by presenting critical information about the patient—such as medications, conditions, and what works or doesn’t work to cope with health conditions—in a concise and meaningful way.

    Several hospitals are piloting the Passport or have plans to do so. The Passport is being shared through many channels, with hospitals and patient advocates and groups committed to improving patient and family engagement. In addition, the Passport has been integrated by NQF member organization Doctella into a free mobile app.

    “To drive system-level change, patients must be empowered to be their own patient safety advocates and engage in meaningful dialogues about their preferences for care,” said Pat Mastors, President of the Patient Voice Institute, who co-chairs the NQF’s Patient and Family Engagement Action Team with Susan Frampton, President of Planetree. “The Patient Passport provides an effective tool to foster this interaction, which is so critical to improving care, lowering costs, and achieving better health outcomes in our nation.”

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