Shared focus is the element most commonly at risk of being overlooked. Yet when shared focus is included this leads to mutually agreed goals with consumers and health professionals supported by systems working together to act for mutual benefit.
Building knowledge and best practice together and implementing evaluation strategies for continuous improvement draws all four elements together in a process that integrates and completes the consumer engagement cycle.
We have consumers at pretty much every table when we’re doing anything involved in strategy for cancer in South Australia. The Cancer Clinical Network is a strategic committee providing advice to the health department. It’s composed of external advisors. There are consumer members of the Cancer Clinical Network Steering Committee and they have the same rights and responsibilities as any other member on the committee, but they are there because of their consumer expertise.
Historically over the last 5 or so years, it’s become imperative to always include consumers on everything we do in health care. We have been learning over that period how to work with consumers and how to engage consumers effectively and how to make the most of their contribution….
—Dorothy Keefe, Clinical Director, Royal Adelaide Hospital Cancer Centre