Picker Institute to cease operations after 27 years

Jan 16, 2013

Camden — After 27 years as a world leader in the advancement of patient-centered care, Picker Institute will cease operations as of March 31.

The organization, which has been based in Camden, since its advent in 1986, has played a leading role in the decades-long effort to make patients full partners in the planning and delivery of their healthcare needs.

“This is a time that is both poignant and exhilarating,” said Picker Institute Executive Director Loie Hanscom in a news release. “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 website 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.”

Picker Institute grew out of the James Picker Foundation, whose primary purpose was to advance the field of academic radiology. In the middle 1980s, having met the mission and at the direction of Jean and Harvey Picker, the James Picker Foundation, founded by Harvey Picker’s father, took on a new challenge. Armed with the vision of redirecting attention to the most important element of the healthcare equation — the patient — and the conviction that a small group of people could make a positive change, they pledged themselves to an ideal they called “patient-centered care.”

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 multi-year 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.

To read the remainder of the news release: go to pickerinstitute.org/pi-closing/.

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