Message from the Chairs

A little more than three years ago, the Patient and Family Advisory Council for Quality and Safety (PFACQS) was an idea born out of a shared desire to improve the patient experience at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.  We were a group of 12 individuals—associates, patients and family members—with unique perspectives and divergent experiences. Today we are a cohesive and powerful voice for change, a strong bridge between those the hospital serves and the people who deliver services—and the architects of an effective vehicle for improved patient care.

We’ve felt strongly from the outset that the PFACQS would not simply be another committee obligation for our members.  We had a mission and a shared aspiration to make a real difference.  Soon each of us became invested in ensuring that the goals we established would be achieved—and our energies well spent.  We have tackled a host of issues—from the simple to complex—and we are proud of our accomplishments.

You will read more about five important initiatives we have undertaken in the last two years in the pages that follow in this first report to the community.  These projects grew out of the council membership’s brainstorming and free exchange of ideas. We talked about what works and doesn’t work for patients and caregivers—examined the problems, and set about to determine effective solutions. Then we got to work focusing on the critical areas of communications, transparency, self-advocacy, and education. 

We are making inroads to inform hospital associates, medical students, patients and their families about the value of shared decision making in health care to preventing medical errors and improving patient outcomes.  And we are helping to design infrastructure—and interactions—that ensure patient safety, privacy and personal autonomy.

There is much more to be done.  Still we have seen that we can be an effective platform for improving health care. The council has been a positive experience for all of us—and we are determined to continue to make a real impact on improving the quality of the patient experience at MedStar Georgetown for many years to come.

Sandra Kaus
Sandra Kaus, Community Member


Christopher Gunzel
Chris Gunzel, Associate Member