Leader in Advancing Patient-Centered Care

Picker Institute ceases operations after three decades

Posted:  Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 3:00pm

“This is a time that is both poignant and exhilarating,” said Picker Institute Executive Director  Loie Hanscom.  “Over the years, Picker Institute has established itself as one of the most effective leaders in advancing patient-centered care. Under the guidance  of our board of directors and with the hard work of our staff, the Institute’s programs in long-term care and graduate medical education have flourished. Our broad-based research agenda has generated dozens of groundbreaking studies by outstanding scholars in the field of patient-centered care. The Institute’s Web site  has become a major resource for those seeking information on best practices and strategies, and the Picker Awards for Excellence in the Advancement of Patient-Centered Care have highlighted the contributions of some of the most important individuals and organization in the field.

“The Institute’s Always Events initiative, which we consider one of our most significant achievements, was designed and implemented over the past five years and will, we believe, take its place as an important  part of our legacy,” Hanscom added. “ Our goal has always been to push the pendulum back toward a balance between technology and the healer, and we are confident that Always Events will become the basic infrastructure for that reorientation.”

In a sustained, dedicated effort, and through the power of their personal relationships with individuals and organizations, this small foundation turned this idea into action and a remarkable strategic vision. Joining forces with the Commonwealth Fund, they funded a multiyear research project consisting of 11 interrelated projects intended to enhance communication between patients and their healthcare providers with the purpose of  improving the healthcare experience.

Over time their accomplishments included:

  • the coining of the term “patient-centered care”
  • the development of the first scientifically validated patient-experience surveys, designed to assess patients’ of their interactions with the healthcare delivery system
  • the creation of the Eight Picker Principles of Patient-Centered Care
  • the formation of Picker Institute

Today the healthcare delivery system reflects the impact of those early achievements in the methodology for CAHPS and HCAHPS, which is derived directly from the work done by Picker Institute.

Over the past 12 years, Picker Institute has focused on fostering the mission:

  • internationally, with a sister organization in England, Picker Institute Europe, and subsidiary offices in Germany and Switzerland
  • a strong national research program in graduate medical education
  • a growing presence in long-term care, including the co-publication with Planetree of the immensely popular Patient-Centered Care Best Practices  Improvement Guide and the Long-Term Care Best Practices Improvement Guide (both available online at no cost) and a research agenda that has funded numerous innovative projects designed to bring long-term care under the patient-centered care umbrella
  • the prestigious Picker Awards for Excellence®,  including the advent in 2009 of the Picker Award for Excellence® in Long-Term Care
  • a robust, wide-ranging research agenda that has supported more than 200 research projects in a variety of fields ranging from a report on the country’s best academic medical centers to the need for end-of-life conversations
  • the broad dissemination of best-practice tools and strategies
  • Always Events®, an initiative designed to significantly elevate the standard for the patient experience in healthcare organizations throughout the United      States by establishing an expectation that certain elements of the patient experience are so important to patients and families that healthcare providers should always get them right to ensure excellence in healthcare for every patient, every time.

Prior to winding down operations, Picker Institute has arranged to pass on its major programs to several leading organizations in the healthcare field:

  • The Picker Long-Term Care program will be taken over by Planetree, where it will be embodied in the Harvey Picker Center of Innovation and Applied Research in Long-Term Care. For more information visit http://planetree.org/.
  • The Picker/Gold Graduate Medical Education research agenda initiative will be administered by  the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, a partner with Picker since 2009 in this very successful effort to integrate the principles of patient-centered care into the education of our future practicing doctors. For more information visit http://www.humanism-in-medicine.org/.
  • The historic Picker Institute website and its body of work will be hosted bythe Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care. The site has become a major clearinghouse for the publication and dissemination of  best practices tools and strategies. For more information visit http://www.ipfcc.org/.
  • The Always Events® initiative will be managed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, which will also oversee the Always Events® Recognition Program designed to harvest and disseminate existing best practices and tools. For more information visit http://www.ihi.org/Pages/default.aspx

“Picker Institute has always been in the forefront of the quiet patient-centered care revolution,” Hanscom said.  “And at our side have been countless individuals and organizations who shared our spirit and our determination. Our physical journey will shortly come to an end. We wish all others, still on the way, every success as they carry forward the vital mission to transform healthcare.”