First Patient Surveyor Adds Unique Insight and Value to the Accreditation Process: CIUSSS de la Mauricie-et-du-Centre-du-Québec

May 24, 2018

AC patient surveyor Mario Di Carlo (Left)

“Once you include patients, you can’t go back,” says Chantal Carignan, Head of Quality, Accreditation and User Experience at Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de la Mauricie-et-du-Centre-du-Québec (CIUSSS MCQ). “Including the patient perspective is an investment, working to improve the quality and safety of the care and services that are provided.”

CIUSSS MCQ’s most recent accreditation survey took place from April 9-13, 2018. This was the first time the organization welcomed a patient surveyor as part of its survey team.

Additionally, this was the first time an Accreditation Canada (AC) patient surveyor was an active part of the survey team, participating beyond an intern capacity.

Martin D’Amour, Assistant Director Quality Management, Evaluation, Performance and Ethics at CIUSSS MCQ, notes that having patients as surveyors shows that AC is integrating patient-centric criteria and is being a role model.

In the last few years, AC has established the active participation of patients in health and social services organizations as a best practice.

AC has 14 trained patient surveyors who have been able to participate on accreditation surveys as of March 2018.

Additionally, at AC’s affiliate Health Standards Organization (HSO) patients are now playing full, active roles as HSO patient partners and as members of Technical Committees, which develop world-class standards.

“The inclusion of a patient surveyor is consistent with Accreditation Canada’s messaging on the importance of the patient in the health care network,” D’Amour says. “Accreditation Canada is a role model for health and social services organizations.”

D’Amour adds that having patients as partners is already a fairly common practice at CIUSSS MCQ.

“We have nearly 100 patients who participate in several continuous quality improvement initiatives,” he says. “To see a patient surveyor on our survey, it highlights the importance of the work they do.”

D’Amour notes that patient partners and patient surveyors help to ensure that the patient voice is included and heard.

At CIUSSS MCQ, D’Amour notes that patient partners are consulted on everything, from the content in a new brochure to the onboarding of new employees.

“We’ve even included patient partners in the interview process for new employees,” D’Amour says. “The inclusion of patients really goes a long way in our organization.”

Carignan notes that patient partners are also key in helping teams identify services that are working well, and helping them form new programs and services moving forward.

“It really allows them to identify the real needs of patients,” Carignan says. “By including patients, they are able to determine what adds value to services.”

She adds however that including the patient voice and perspective throughout the organization involved a lot of work and a change in culture.

“But after having a patient surveyor on our accreditation survey and listening to his feedback, we realize how important it is to include the patient’s perspective in everything we do,” Carignan says. “Now, we are sure to be aligned with Accreditation Canada’s vision.”

Carignan says that CIUSSS MCQ staff members in various facilities found the patient surveyor’s feedback and questions to be helpful and relevant.

“We really felt that there was a human perspective provided by the surveyor. This really made his presence appreciated,” she says.

Carignan adds that including patient surveyors on survey teams is something that AC needs to continue to do moving forward.

“Regardless of the programs and services that are being surveyed, their presence is important and it adds value to the accreditation process,” she says.

Mario Di Carlo was the AC patient surveyor for CIUSSS MCQ’s survey. Over the years, he has held key leadership positions in public and crown corporations, with his focus being placed on customer service, sales, and health care delivery.

Di Carlo was struck by polio at the age of 1. The illness, which is now virtually eradicated, left him with significant physical weaknesses. Since youth, he has faced challenges that have shaped his approach to living with a permanent condition and how to interact with the health care system.

D’Amour notes that the accreditation process helps organizations ensure that they are always following best practices and meeting rigorous standards for quality and safety.

He says that when 12 organizations were joined together to form CIUSSS MCQ three years ago, the new organization looked to AC’s Qmentum Accreditation Program as a strategic lever for the transformation and integration of clinical and administrative activities.

“We were convinced that the standards would give us the means to integrate different existing practices, and that the surveys would allow us to measure the progress that’s been made. We made the right choice,” he said.

Want to know more about how a patient surveyor could be helpful in your accreditation experience? Discover 5 Benefits of Patient Surveyors.