Patient Engagement at DFCM

On Sept. 15, 2022, the Department of Family & Community Medicine (DFCM) was pleased to welcome 15 patient partners selected for the newly created University of Toronto Family Medicine Patient Advisory Committee. This committee is the first of its kind, and DFCM is the first group to take steps forward to engaging patients within family medicine postgraduate education. 

DFCM has a database of patient partners who are members at one of the 15 teaching clinics that bring the patient perspective into the work of our department. If you are a patient interested in joining the patient pool, please click here to fill out our intake survey

If you’re a faculty member interested in engaging with patients, click here to access helpful resources.

Visual breakdown of the DFCM patient pool

Behind DFCM’s patient engagement initiatives

In 2021, DFCM welcomed its first Patient & Family Engagement Specialist, Dana Arafeh, to grow capacity for engaging patient and families. Working closely with the Quality & Innovation Program and the broader DFCM leadership team, Dana led a needs assessment during her first six months. Through 27 consultations with faculty and staff across DFCM, patient partners, executive directors, medical students, residents, nurses as well as other care team members with experience in patient engagement, Dana and the QI Team released a report that details the current state of patient and family engagement at DFCM and recommendations for future activities.

Key findings 

In the patient engagement report, the following key findings are highlighted to guide the department’s main goals for the future:

  • There is great interest and enthusiasm for engaging patients at DFCM. While patient engagement activities vary across DFCM sites and programs, there was consensus around the importance and benefits of patient engagement and an interest in learning more.
  • All sites share easy-to-understand information with patients in a variety of ways and consult with them for feedback on their care experience. Some sites have begun to involve or even partner with patients in improvement initiatives. Patients have also been invited to participate in activities at the central department, resulting in a variety of opportunities for patient partnership.
  • Some fear “getting it wrong,” worrying that they won’t be able to engage patients in a meaningful way. Although many were aware of existing frameworks for patient engagement, they reported feeling that they lacked the knowledge and confidence for moving forward with different approaches.

Key activities

The report also notes the following key activities to be implemented over the coming years:

  • Developing, collating and sharing new and existing resources to support engagement
  • Providing support to sites and programs to learn from best practices and each other
  • Working with the postgraduate program to advance patient partnership in the DFCM residency training program
  • Developing and supporting a DFCM patient pool and advisory committee.

Read the full patient engagement report