Phoenix Fellows and Grantees

Paula Rowland

OT Reg. (Ont.), PhD


Principal Investigator:  Paula Rowland, OT Reg. (Ont.), PhD, University Health Network

Cluster Theme: Processes/best practices that embody patients’/families’ perspectives, patients as educators, and patient voices as a resource for learning.

Advancing the Science and Practice of Patient Engagement in Health Service Organizations

There is an international movement towards engaging patients and their family members in designing and evaluating health services. These programs seek to engage patients in creating systems that are compassionate, collaborative, and of the highest quality. If patient engagement is to live up to its potential, participants and designers require a more nuanced, empirically grounded, and theoretically sound way of understanding how these programs are working in organizations. The goal of this research project is to advance the science and practice of patient engagement in organizations, specifically organizationally focused patient engagement programs that are used for the purposes of service design and quality improvement. The ability to demonstrate meaningful impact of patient engagement is key to the sustainability of these programs. Carefully considering how these programs are working – and how impact could be considered – is an important contribution to the research and practice of patient engagement.

Objectives for the proposed project include:

  • Develop an understanding of the field of evaluation related to patient engagement in service design, including evaluation designs, tools, practices and conclusions
  • Richly describe how patient engagement processes and practices are manifesting in two different organizational contexts, including describing what is working, for whom, in what context, and to what effect
  • Design an organization-specific evaluation strategy adapted to the two Study Sites, informed by existing evaluation models and recent advances in evaluation science
  • Create and sustain a broader community of practice around patient engagement in organizations, inclusive of the implications for research, education, and practice

Paula was a 2013 Phoenix Fellow. You can learn more about her Fellowship work here.