Patient Participation Groups (PPG) are a group of patients alongside GPs and practice staff who work together to improve the services, patient experience, and care that GP practices provide. However in order for it to be effective, there are several best practices that should be followed.
Always Go Virtual
Although face-to-face meetings are important, creating a virtual Patient Participation Groups will let patients who may not be able to attend such meetings contribute as well. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, and setting up a group on Instant Messaging services such as Skype or WhatsApp will suffice.
Having a virtual group will also mean that face-to-face meetings need not be held as often, which can be convenient in some cases.
Make Sure it is Representative
Ideally Patient Participation Groups should be representative. In other words, you should try to ensure that all the different types of patients that frequent the GP practice have a voice on it.
The reason why representation is important is to ensure that the needs and concerns of all patients are addressed. It will allow the group to be far more effective, and avoid any group from being ignored or falling through the cracks.
Engage Local Community Groups
While Patient Participation Groups are an extension of GP practices, they should also form ties with other local community groups. Collaborating with these groups is crucial, and it will help to improve the care the practice provides to the local community.
On top of that engaging local community groups will make it easier to organize events, information sessions, or even advertise the Patient Participation Group itself.
Set Up a Suggestions Box
One of the easiest ways to for Patient Participation Groups to expand their role and attract interest from other patients is by setting up a suggestion box. It should be positioned prominently, and the practice staff should try to ask patients to contribute while they wait for their appointment.
Not only will this help to engage patients and get them involved, but it will also act as a valuable source of feedback from patients.
Include Other Healthcare Providers
In addition to the care provided by GP practices, Patient Participation Groups should try to include other healthcare providers. For example, it may be possible to reach out to local dentists, physiotherapists, pharmacists, midwives, and so on.
Working together with other healthcare providers can help to expand the scope that a Patient Participation Group is able to cover. It will also help to ensure the needs of patients with more complex medical conditions are met as well.
Make no mistake the role that a Patient Participation Group plays in GP practices is essential, and can help improve its services as well as the general health and well-being of patients. Implementing the best practices listed above will help you to get off to a good start, but you need to keep on being proactive if you want to see results.