Hospitals and health systems are using patient and family advisors to help them reach the Triple Aim—better quality of care, lower cost and greater satisfaction with care delivery—tapping insights directly from people who have to navigate the patient side of the world of health care. Physicians can take these learnings and apply them to their own practices in ambulatory settings to help them achieve better care, smarter spending and healthier, happier patients.  


Partnering with patients and families can help patients make more informed choices about their care, use medications more safely and better manage chronic disease, according to the Roadmap for Patient and Family Engagement in Healthcare that includes a video of their vision of a transformed system involving patients and families. Physicians can apply these ideas to their own practices by selecting patient and family advisors to share their experiences.

A patient and family advisor is someone who:

  • Gives feedback based on his or her own experiences as a patient or family member of someone with a chronic disease
  • Helps improve the patient experience and quality of care for those with chronic conditions
  • Works with the practice team for either short- or long-term commitments

These advisors can help you ensure your practice is focused on patient-centered care needs and aren’t just making assumptions about what patients and their families want. Advisors can identify things that can be improved in your practice from a patient perspective and share ideas about how to make sure other patients and families get the best health care possible and have a positive experience.

Patients and family advisors can:

  • Share their stories. Advisors can provide insight by talking about their health care experiences with physicians, staff and other patients.
  • Review or help create patient materials. Advisors provide a patient perspective and can help make forms or educational handouts easier for patients and family members to understand and use.
  • Partner with the community. Advisors can discuss what programs or resources are available or could be offered in the community to help support patient self-management of chronic conditions.

A new AMA resource (log in required) gives you everything you need to know about recruiting and engaging patient and family advisors in your practice, developed as part of the AMA’s Improving Health Outcomes initiative.

The AMA, participating physicians and care teams are working with researchers at the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality and the Johns Hopkins Center to Eliminate Cardiovascular Health Disparities to develop, test and spread evidence-based recommendations on improving blood pressure control that provide practical tools for physician practices and health centers, including the patient and family advisor recruitment guide and onboarding toolkit.

Featured Stories