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134 Primary Care Practices Participate in First-Ever Statewide Patient Engagement Survey

MHQP has completed the first-ever statewide survey of patient engagement practices in primary care. The effort, which was supported by CRICO, the Harvard risk management foundation, was designed to create an inventory of activities that are helpful in enhancing patient engagement and to highlight successful patient engagement strategies for others to adopt.

“Massachusetts’s primary care practices have always been at the forefront of innovative ways to improve patient experience and outcomes and now we know a great deal more about how they are doing this through efforts to improve patient engagement,” said MHQP president and CEO Barbra Rabson. “Our board of directors has identified patient engagement as a key area of focus for our organization and we are grateful to CRICO for helping us take this baseline step toward making this vision a reality.”

Patient engagement has emerged as an essential element of effective care as health care leaders around the country have begun to recognize that engaging patients through collaborative, personalized care is key to reducing costs and improving outcomes. When patients and providers work together to make care decisions, patients are more likely to follow the treatment plan; and when patients develop the confidence and skills to take charge of their conditions, they are better able to manage their own health. Moreover, patients and family members who are active partners in their care can provide information missing from their medical history and charts and can recognize errors in documentation of care (1).

Emerging evidence also suggests that certain aspects of patient engagement, especially shared decision making, decrease the chances of a patient experiencing an adverse event (2). Despite this evidence, we know very little about what programs primary practices have in place to support good patient engagement.

MHQP and CRICO hope the results of this study will create baseline data and spark other new research in this area. In addition, CRICO’s support of this survey is intended to help inform its ongoing primary care patient safety efforts.  

MHQP is in the process of analyzing the data and identifying ideas and innovations that can be shared with practices throughout the state, who can use this information to continually improve their own patient engagement policies and practices. 

“We would like to thank each of the 134 practices that took the time to respond to the survey and look forward to sharing the many insights from this study with all interested parties,” said Rabson.

For more information about this study, please contact Amy Stern at



(1)    Herrin J, Harris KG, Kenward K, et al. Patient and Family Engagement: A Survey of US Hospital Practices. BMJ Qual Saf Published Online First: [14 Aug 2015] doi: 10.1136/bmjqs-2015-004006

(2)    Weingart, S. N., Zhu, J., Chiappetta, L., Stuver, S. O., Schneider, E. C., Epstein, A. M., ... & Weissman, J. S. (2011). Hospitalized patients’ participation and its impact on quality of care and patient safety. International Journal for Quality in Health Care

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