Mathews Journal of Cancer Science


Current Issue Volume 8, Issue 4 - 2023

Elevating Patient Voices for Enhanced Patient Care Safety

Mwanja Moses*

School of Medicine, College of Health & Medicine, King Ceasor University, Kampala, Uganda

*Corresponding Author: Mwanja Moses, School of Medicine, College of Health & Medicine, King Ceasor University, Bunga Hill, P. O. Box 88, Kampala, Uganda; Tel: +256 756575899; Email: [email protected]; [email protected]

Received Date: October 2, 2023

Publication Date: November 24, 2023

Citation: Moses M. (2023). Elevating Patient Voices for Enhanced Patient Care Safety. Mathews J Cancer Sci. 8(4):46.

Copyright: Moses M. © (2023)


Patient involvement plays a role, in healthcare offering great potential to improve safety. This commentary delves into the significance of engaging patients emphasizing their participation in the healthcare journey making decisions and fostering partnerships. By drawing upon context and existing literature it highlights the impact on safety measures healthcare experiences and the trust patients have in healthcare organizations. The paper then present’s evidence based strategies that address obstacles such as health literacy shared decision making, communication, digital health solutions, patient advisory councils and frameworks. Furthermore it sheds light on the importance of legislation, regulation and enforcement, in this regard. This comprehensive approach aims to cultivate a healthcare environment where patient voices are central, contributing to safer and more compassionate care.

Keywords: Patient voice, care, safety


In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, one essential facet stands out - patient engagement. It is a dynamic and critical area that has the potential to transform the safety of patient care. In this commentary, we embark on a journey into the heart of patient engagement, where patient voices emerge as champions for safer healthcare.

The crux of this inquiry lies in recognizing the fundamental issue-the imperative of patient safety in healthcare. While medical advances have advanced the field, they have also underscored the need for patients to be active participants in their healthcare journey. This is not just about participation; it is about empowering individuals to make informed decisions, fostering open communication, and recognizing patients as partners in their care.

Patient engagement is not a new concept; it is deeply rooted in evolving healthcare relationships, ethical principles, and an awakening awareness of the central role of patients in their well- being [1]. This historical context underscores the enduring importance of patient engagement in the pursuit of safer, more patient-centered care.

We firmly believe in the transformative potential of patient engagement in healthcare. Actively engaging patients respects their autonomy, enhances their safety, and improves their overall healthcare experience [2]. As we delve deeper into this exploration, we expect to uncover the untapped potential of patient engagement and illuminate a path to a safer and more compassionate healthcare landscape.

Existing literature and research underscores the critical nature of patient engagement. Respondents affirm that "patients deserve a voice" and recognize that having a patient on the board of directors significantly increases trust in healthcare organizations [3]. Patient engagement at the direct care level is advocated to improve harm prevention and promote patient safety [4].

In our quest to improve the safety of patient care, our paper will review the existing evidence and propose evidence-based strategies. These strategies aim to address barriers that hinder or prevent patient engagement in patient safety. Our ultimate goal is to contribute to the ongoing dialogue and move healthcare toward a culture change in which patients and healthcare professionals work hand-in-hand to co-create patient safety solutions.

Identifying Facilitators and Strategies for Elevating Patient Voices

In the quest to elevate the patient voice to improve the safety of patient care, it is imperative to recognize not only the barriers to patient engagement, but also the facilitators that can pave the way for meaningful participation. Patient engagement is not just a trend; it represents a transformative force in healthcare, fostering collaboration, communication, and ethical practices deeply rooted in the rich tapestry of patient experience [1,5]. While barriers such as patient reluctance, provider hesitancy, and infrastructure limitations [6,7] pose formidable challenges, certain facilitators hold the potential to break down these barriers. Encouraging active patient participation, sharing information transparently, building trusting relationships, embracing patient- centered care, and enhancing organizational resources are the foundational elements of this transformative journey [6,8-10]. In the following discussions, we will propose evidence-based strategies that leverage these facilitators to amplify the patient voice and thereby improve the safety of patient care.

Health Literacy and Education: Health literacy and education emerge as a pivotal strategy for elevating patient voices and enhancing patient care safety. Existing literature, primarily generated by healthcare professionals (HCPs) using quantitative methods, underscores the need to better understand patients' perspectives. Effective health literacy empowers patients to internalize safety messages when presented directly, such as using terms like "your safety," along with providing specific, actionable information that is consistently reinforced. This approach fosters a profound sense of responsibility in patients, actively encouraging their participation in healthcare decisions. It necessitates educating all stakeholders involved in patient care, equipping them to facilitate patient engagement. Healthcare providers must develop and distribute educational materials and tools to enhance patient understanding of healthcare safety, emphasizing the shared responsibility between patients and HCPs [8,11,12].

Shared Decision-Making and Patient-Reported Outcomes: Shared decision-making and the integration of patient-reported outcomes serve as paramount strategies for enhancing patient care safety by actively involving patients and caretakers in safety practices. Patients and caretakers should be empowered to participate in person-centered approaches, where their role extends beyond identifying safety concerns to becoming active partners in preventing them. This collaborative approach fosters a sense of shared responsibility for safety [9].

Effective communication emerges as a cornerstone for promoting patient engagement in safety. Clear, inviting, and multimodal communication methods hold significant potential for enhancing patients' active participation in their safety. Nurses play a critical role in this process by continually assessing patients' ability to engage and providing the necessary encouragement without overwhelming them. By employing communication techniques that genuinely consider patients' perspectives, nurses can effectively support patient engagement [11].

Respondents in various studies have recognized the pivotal role of healthcare professionals in facilitating patient interaction and enhancing patient safety. Encouraging patients to ask questions and actively participate in their care is seen as a means to empower patients in their safety journey [10].

Furthermore, patient engagement in healthcare planning and evaluation must transcend mere tokenism; it must be intersectional, address systemic power relations, and genuinely place patients in the driver's seat of engagement processes. Health service planners and evaluators must work towards creating more inclusive, accessible, and appropriate patient engagement experiences to transform healthcare into a socially just system [13].

Despite patients and their advocates possessing valuable prior experience and knowledge, they often encounter significant challenges in being heard as equitable partners in clinical safety during serious illness episodes. Clinicians sometimes dismiss their evidence and expertise, highlighting the pressing need for a shift in the healthcare culture to truly embrace the patient's voice as an invaluable asset in enhancing patient care safety [5].

Harnessing Digital Health Solutions: Digital health tools stand as key assets in fortifying patient care safety while serving as conduits for valuable feedback mechanisms and refining alarm systems within healthcare environments. Insights gleaned from multiple studies emphasize the significance of effective communication, role clarification, and collaborative partnerships between patients and healthcare practitioners to actively bolster patient safety. A notable example is the collaborative development of the Patient Safety Guide for Primary Care, which involved both patients and healthcare professionals, marking a substantial stride in augmenting safety in primary care settings(9). Additionally, automated tools, including self-reported history-taking systems, exhibit their potential by truncating patient waiting times and fostering considerate communication, ultimately contributing to elevated patient care standards [5].

Patient Advisory Councils: Innovative approaches to patient engagement include the establishment of Patient Advisory Councils. Health systems increasingly involve patient representatives on governance boards or create Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) to enhance care delivery. These councils serve as vital platforms for collaboration, facilitating trust between patients and healthcare providers. By actively involving patients in decision-making processes and seeking their input, healthcare organizations can harness their unique perspectives to improve patient care safety and overall quality. The inclusion of patient representatives in these advisory councils fosters a sense of partnership and ensures that patient voices are heard and valued in healthcare decision-making. PFACs, in particular, offer a structured mechanism for patients and families to actively participate in shaping healthcare policies and practices, ultimately enhancing patient care safety and the overall healthcare experience [3].

Developing Frameworks and Protocols: Developing robust frameworks, protocols, and guidelines for healthcare professionals are yet one of the ways to ensure patient engagement and enhance patient care safety. Future research should prioritize creating consensus guidelines for implementing patient and family engagement in patient safety, expanding the scope of research in this domain, and identifying specific action areas tailored to each healthcare facility's needs. These frameworks serve as a foundational step in involving patients in error investigations, promoting patient-centeredness, autonomy, transparency, and providing valuable insights for more effective analyses [2,14].

Legislation, Regulation, and Enforcement - A Crucial Final Element: Legislation and regulations are fundamental drivers for implementing patient engagement and ensuring enhanced patient care safety. Policymakers play a crucial role by issuing guidelines for the systematic implementation of patient and family engagement in healthcare systems. These guidelines empower healthcare providers to effectively integrate patient and family engagement practices,

Ultimately enhancing patient safety. Additionally, stringent laws empower patients, enabling them to take an active role in managing their health and healthcare while actively participating in initiatives to improve overall safety [14,15]. Legislation, when strengthened, acts as a cornerstone for patient empowerment and safer healthcare practices, making it a crucial final element in our comprehensive approach.


In conclusion, our journey into the realm of patient engagement has illuminated a path to improved safety in patient care. Patient voices, once elevated and empowered, become catalysts for transformative change in healthcare. By recognizing patient engagement as a shared responsibility and implementing evidence-based strategies, we can overcome barriers and foster meaningful partnerships between patients and healthcare providers. The multifaceted approach we have explored, from health literacy to digital health tools, from patient advisory councils to legislative support, provides a comprehensive framework for safer healthcare. As we move forward, let us embrace this vision of collaborative care, where the patient voice is central to a safer, more compassionate healthcare landscape.


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