According to Kaiser Health News, hospitals across the United States have been taking big steps toward providing better services to patients and their families. One such step has been involving patients and family members in advisory boards, many of which have a direct line to hospital administrators and financial boards. This has been seen as very innovative and has been gaining a lot of popularity. According to data collected by healthcare organizations in 2013, 40% of hospitals had some iteration of a patient advisory board.

For hospitals, the incentive to turn toward their patients to improve services has already existed, but for many years hospital administrators seemed to have ignored the need for input from those they served. One such incentive for improving patient satisfaction is the correlation between Medicare payments and patient satisfaction scores. After implementing patient advisory boards, many hospitals, like Michigan’s Spectrum Health which began creating patient-led boards 10 years ago, have seen significant increases in patient satisfaction scores.

At Michigan’s Spectrum Health, Andy DeVries serves on one of their 13 patient groups after being hospitalized with life-threatening injuries following an accident. In his years working alongside Spectrum Health, Mr. DeVries has seen the increase in status that patient groups have had over a decade. In his case, he has even helped human resources at the hospital in the process of hiring doctors and nurses. The human resources department relied on Mr. DeVries to clue them in on what to look out for when hiring, something a patient should know very well after being attended by a variety of different hospital staff.

With the growing popularity of patent advisory boards/committees, many hospitals have encountered some flaws in the system. The most pressing to some hospitals have been finding a diverse enough group of patients who not only have the willingness to help but also have the time. A diverse group of patients is necessary, as it would allow the hospital to tackle a wider range of issues that would benefit a wider range of patients and families. Nonetheless, many hospitals have been benefiting from these boards tremendously, and some see it as just the first step in improving the type of service and care they give to their patients.

This blog was previously published on April 27, 2015 at



Todd Berner

Todd Berner is a pharmaceutical expert with a focus on improving outcomes through patient advocacy, particularly when it comes to rare diseases.