Empowering Health Care Consumers

Grantee Name

Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care

Funding Area

Empowering Health Care Consumers

Publication Date

January 2019

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

January 2017–July 2018

Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) provide an opportunity for patients and families to bring their perspectives to bear on hospital-related decisions (e.g., policies, staffing, communications, and facilities) and governance.

Although effective in improving patient outcomes, in many cases, PFACs are not seen as something that is essential to a patient’s recovery. In response, state and federal agencies have begun initiatives that aim to increase the role of PFACs in reflecting the needs and concerns of patients and families. Despite the growing recognition of their need, there is a dearth of information on how many PFACs exist in New York State and how they vary in their composition and roles. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care (IPFCC) a grant to address this information gap in New York State.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Convened a project advisory committee comprising patient and family advisors and advocacy groups; representatives from hospital trade associations and other hospital leadership; government officials; and local and national PFAC experts.
  • Conducted key informant interviews, site visits, and an online survey of New York State hospitals to assess PFACs.
  • Evaluated the prevalence and impact of PFACs in New York State, including where PFACs currently exist and variations in composition, structure, management, and funding.
  • Produced a final report, “Strategically Advancing Patient and Family Advisory Councils in New York State Hospitals,” with recommendations and best practices for implementing successful PFACs, increasing their prevalence, and enhancing their meaningful use across New York State, including:
    • Build partnerships with patients and families into State and quality safety initiatives.
    • Create opportunities for shared learning and mentorship around PFAC work.
    • Develop guidance to help hospitals access existing PFAC training resources in ways that address the need for tailored information.
    • Conduct additional research about the evolution and impact of PFACs and expand work to other states and settings.
    • Disseminate PFAC study results to share learnings within and outside of New York State.

The analysis found that hospitals with PFACs perform better on measures of quality and patient satisfaction, but only a small percentage of New York hospitals have a high-functioning PFAC. IPFCC widely disseminated the report and its findings through its e-newsletter, on its website, at seminars and conferences, and as part of its consulting and technical assistance activities. The report was released at the 2018 International Conference on Patient- and Family-Centered Care, where it was distributed to more than 1,000 participants. Additionally, IPFCC presented on the report to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Hospital Improvement Innovation Network, which then widely shared it with the network’s 4,000 participating hospitals and how they can apply best practices to their own work with PFACs.

In April 2019, NYSHealth Vice President for Programs Sharrie McIntosh will also highlight the report’s findings at The Beryl Institute’s Patient Experience Conference for health care professionals. In addition, a project led by Island Peer Review Organization (IPRO) and X4 Health, supported by NYSHealth, will pilot a new model that uses virtual technology to improve patient participation and involve a larger, more diverse array of patients and families in PFACs.

Co-Funding and Additional Funds Leveraged: N/A