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J Patient Cent Res Rev


PURPOSE: This paper was intended to share a flexible engagement model (FEM) for organizing a structure to obtain patient input regarding health care operations and research, provide greater detail on recruitment, retention, and dissemination strategies, and demonstrate successes and potential applications in other health care settings.

METHODS: Utilizing a pragmatic approach, the Patient-Engaged Research Center (PERC) at Henry Ford Health System developed the FEM, a 7-step process to introduce interested patients/caregivers to the patient advisor program and to follow up with placements. PERC developed a meeting evaluation to measure participant satisfaction. Retention and dissemination methods to keep participants consistently engaged included monthly email blasts, an annual patient advisor retreat, and inviting patient advisors to attend/present at local and national conferences.

RESULTS: As of January 2020, the program had 419 patient advisors. Almost 50% self-reported as Caucasian and 31% as African American; 73% were women, and most were 45-74 years of age. Recruitment methods proved effective, as 85% of advisors were initially engaged through print and digital marketing. Mean advisor orientation workshop evaluation scores regarding content, facilitators, and logistics were high, with all 4.5 or higher on a Likert scale of 1 (strongly negative) to 5 (strongly positive).

CONCLUSIONS: Given the FEM's flexible nature and adaptability, PERC has been successful in effectively leveraging the patient voice and experiences in research and health care delivery. Further research could investigate the model's generalizability, return on investment, and how to formally embed its methodology institutionally.

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