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Tell your story: Excellence in patient- and family-centered care

microphoneLast year, Sarah Andryauskas, then a new nurse in our emergency department, was caring for a patient with diabetes who had trouble maintaining healthy blood glucose levels. His disease had contributed to several hospital visits over the preceding months and years.

As health care providers, it’s tempting to attribute such repeat visits to patient noncompliance. But Sarah took the time to ask: Was there a barrier that kept the man from taking control of his health? Indeed there was, as the patient explained that diabetes-related sight loss had made it impossible to read his glucometer—and thus to manage his blood sugar.

Sarah’s story of this revelation, and the extraordinary steps that she and a colleague took to find a glucometer that reads results out loud, is the first in a new podcast series that delves into what it truly means to practice “patient- and family-centered care.”

From time to time, I’ll use this blog to highlight inspiring new stories—from caregivers, patients, or both—that have been added to the series. Visit the website for the project, called The Heart of Caring, anytime to see the full list of podcasts.

With support from The Josie King Foundation, we have undertaken this project because we recognize the power of stories to help us to get our arms around complex concepts. Many health care organizations have committed to patient-centered care in their mission statements, and many have changed how they structure care in order to foster a more genuine partnership with patients and family members. But what does the term really mean? Some of us have simplified our understanding to “the patient is the North Star” or “the kind of care you would give your mother.” These phrases come closer to capturing the essence of patient-centered care, but they still don’t do it justice.

Our project is a step toward changing this. We envision a smaller, more focused version of StoryCorps, that powerful oral history program heard on National Public Radio. They collect stories of love and loss, of what it means to be a mom or a dad, of heroism and of injustice.

Tell us your stories of patient-centered care. If you work in health care, maybe it was the time you held a scared patient’s hand, prayed with a family, or bent a little rule because that is what the patient needed most at that moment. If you’ve been a patient or the family member of one, tell us about the time that you received loving care, or witnessed care that took your breath away. Through these tales, you will help us better define excellent patient- and family-centered care and stimulate a conversation across health care. You will help us make it more likely that outstanding patient- and family-centered care becomes the norm rather than the exception.

Please help us in this effort. We are collecting stories from clinicians, from patients, from clinicians and patients together. We welcome stories from across the globe. If you have a story to share, please e-mail Elizabeth Tracey at


Peter Pronovost

One of the world’s leading authorities on patient safety, Peter Pronovost served a the director of the Armstrong Institute, as well as senior vice president for patient safety and quality, at Johns Hopkins Medicine from 2011 until January 2018.

7 thoughts on “Tell your story: Excellence in patient- and family-centered care”

  1. Hello Liz,

    Unfortunately, I cannot tell you my story about help and joy and relax afterwards. It is because I had upsetting time and pain at JHMI.

    At year 2003 I was diagnosed with brain tumor. I was diagnosed in the beggining of April and they rushed me into a surgery afterward on April 18th. We were using international center where they never helped other than scaring us. Actually doctors (John Winegart , and Alessandro Olivi) both scared us with my passage. I was continuing to GWU and my final exams were due but they dıd not even let me finish the semester and rushed me into this surgery. International service translators Nuran or Zeynep kocabal (both Turkish) never sent us any information about the disease or any helping material like web sites. Nuran was taking care of me and she was very worried how we pay rather than our happiness. She sent me emails saying that Johns Hopkıns didnot accept Virginia medical assistance but she never told us what JHM accepts. In the end she sent us numerious emails about pay bills. I am a US citizen and I get governmental help, US is always willing to help its citizens. However, we were never given any chance to apply for temporary aid or tanf. This is only the financial side. There is moral side of my story...

    Dr. Olivis office never talked with me before the surgery just pay and go. Secretary Rose never smiled to me or never asked me how I was doing before the surgery with morale part. Even worse after the surgery I lost the ability to hold my eyelids. I was not able to see or walk in balance. During the emergency care nuurses tied me up into bed easier to control rather than checking on me... I had so hard days but the doctor (OLIVI) was never there.He never called or emailed after the surgery. And also when we were leaving the hospital I was given the incorrect dose of cortizone which caused me to put on extra weight which I never was able to lose....I never got any apology, no care and you ask for unforgettable times...

    Here is mine I can never forget how Johns Hopkins and Dr. Olivi ruinned my life......

    Hande Müge Aksu
    "Wise people talk because they have something to say,fools because they have to say something"-- Plato

    1. I am sorry to hear that you had what you feel was an unsatisfactory experience with Hopkins. It is always our goal to provide the highest standard of care to those we serve. The Armstrong Institute was created to help improve patient quality and experience, both at Johns Hopkins and across the nation. Please feel free to contact one of our patient representative officers at 410-955-2273 or email at to have a follow up conversation with you about your care.

  2. Dear Dr. Pronovost,
    I wanted to write to you to tell you how much I have appreciated your talks, that are include in the HIT training that I am participating in. Hours, upon hours of narrated lectures over the last 4 months, and I am overjoyed when I get to hear one of your lectures, it makes learning that much easier. So " Thank You" and bless you for all of your hard work, and future endeavors.

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  5. Hi,

    Thank you for sharing this we provide one patient and family centered care Conference.The Conference details are given below.

    Fetal and Women's Imaging - Advanced OB-GYN Ultrasound is organized by World Class CME and will be held from Sep 06 - 08, 2019 at Seattle Marriott Waterfront, Seattle, Washington, USA. The target audience for this CME is designed for physicians and sonographers in the fields of gynecologic and obstetric imaging, as well as residents in obstetrics and gynecology, or radiology, and fellows in maternal-fetal medicine.

    For more information:

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