Programme no. 324-OP
Patient Empowerment
Patient Participation Group in General Practice
Maria Von Würden*1, Martin Bach Jensen2, Søren Olsson3
1Lægerne Sløjfen,Quality Unit for North Denmark Region (NordKAP),Aalborg,Denmark, 2Research Unit for Generel Pratice in North Denmark Region and Department of Clinical Medicine,Aalborg University,Aalborg,Denmark, 3Lægerne Sløjfen,Quality Unit for North Denmark Region (NordKAP),Aalborg,Denmark
* = Presenting author
Objectives: To describe our experiences with establishing a PPG and how the clinic has profited from this.
Background: In England over 50% of practices have a patient participation group (PPG) whereas in Denmark only few clinics use this kind of patient involvement. It may be a valuable resource for the practice and enables that the practice develop in accordance with patient needs. It may also be one of several ways to meet the general demand in society for user involvement.

We wanted to have a transparent patient involvement as part of our practice. Our intensions were to join employees and patients in order that new goals and visions could arise and be dealt in a mutual way.

Due to increased specialization in overall health care, there is a growing need to be coordinator for all our patients. This role as coordinator for the patient can be fulfilled by involving doctors as well as nurses, distributing this obligation to others than the GP alone, as long as the patient needs are met.

Results: The PPG was established by April 2013. Meetings have been held every 3-4 months where different issues have been discussed. Patients as well as staff brought up issues, in that way ideas developed in a mutual understanding of a proper development of the clinic for the benefit of the patient as well as the employees E.g. accessibility facilitating visitation into the clinic information in the waiting room, home page, work routines and projects in the clinic have been discussed. Positive effects of the PPG have been an increased awareness of patients’ needs and practical suggestions from the PPG to improve work routines in the clinic that has led to increased productivity in the clinic.
Material/Methods: It was important for us to establish a mutual understanding of purpose and role and ensure that the patients’ in the PPG felt a supportive relationship.

Participants, 6-8 patients, for the PPG were chosen among the patient at the clinic each one informally representing different groups - for example the patient with chronic diseases, elderly, small children’s family and ethnic minorities. One member was elected to be the chairman. Among his task was to be contact person between the clinic and the other patients in the council. It was anticipated that the council offered advice on how to improve service at the clinic and offered advice on how we approached each patient in an individualized manner.

Conclusion: The PPG has led to an increased emphasis on user perspective and inspired us to change several routines in the clinic that have improved productivity.
Points for discussion: Should the establishment of PPGs be encouraged and if so, how should this be done?