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Advisory Councils Help Shape and Improve Care

Peter Dunn, MD (left), executive medical director, Perioperative Administration, gives General Patient and Family Advisory Council members a tour of a procedure room.

Hospital News

Advisory Councils Help Shape and Improve Care

At Mass General, patient and family advisory councils play an important role in working with clinicians and administrators to shape and improve hospital services, programs and initiatives.

Jennifer Redmond
August 11, 2018

Patients play an important role alongside clinicians and administrators working to make Massachusetts General Hospital care better. Mass General has several patient and family advisory councils (PFAC) that meet regularly and provide perspectives to help shape hospital services, programs, and initiatives. Members also participate on committees across the organization to help improve patient care.

Improving Patient Materials

General PFAC member Hilary Deignan is the first patient member of the interdisciplinary Anesthesia Quality and Safety Committee. “Hilary’s perspective helped address issues the patients are wondering about, not what we think patients are wondering about,” says Jeremi Mountjoy, MD, anesthesiologist and physician lead for the committee.

“I have learned that having patients’ and families’ perspectives on decisions that we believe are right from the clinical and hospital perspective is helpful …”

Ms. Deignan worked with the committee to develop information to better prepare patients undergoing anesthesia. “I attended meetings, brainstormed, and worked with the committee, and had equal participation and access,” she said. “I took the final content to the PFAC, which reviewed it as an end user would, and got additional feedback, much of which was incorporated.” Having Ms. Deignan on the interdisciplinary committee was very helpful in connecting with PFAC, added Allison Doney, Anesthesia administrative manager and co-chair of the Quality and Safety Committee.

Anesthesia is piloting the web-based patient information portal to get baseline and follow-up information from a select patient population.

Clearer Consent Forms

The interdisciplinary Patient Perspective on Perioperative Care Task Force (P3C) facilitates patient input on care quality policies and the consent process. “I have learned that having patients’ and families’ perspectives on decisions that we believe are right from the clinical and hospital perspective is helpful to guide and validate whether we’re moving in the right direction,” said Peter Dunn, MD, executive medical director, Perioperative Administration.

“We looked at consent forms for anesthesia, blood transfusion, and HIV screening from a patient and family point of view, and recommended changes to make the forms clearer,” said Bill Kieffer, PFAC and P3C member. “We urged that wherever possible, the conversations between anesthesiologists, surgeons, and the patient and family members take place in advance of the procedure, leaving time for questions.”

Advisory Councils and Specialty Care

Mass General has several PFACs representing a large proportion of specialty care we provide, including the MassGeneral Hospital for Children, the Mass General Cancer Center, Heart and Vascular, Pediatric Oncology, Ambulatory Practice of the Future, and Cystic Fibrosis.

In November, 2017, the PFACs jointly held an event to highlight patient and family member contributions that enhance the Mass General care experience across the organization, and the importance of the patient and family voice.

Mass General’s General PFAC is looking for new members with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. For more information or to request an application, please send an email to

To learn how you can support patient care programs at Mass General, please contact us.

This story first appeared in Fruit Street Physician, a publication of the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization.