How do I incorporate consumer engagement into my organization’s strategic plan?

Make it a priority.

 
Rosalie Phillips, Tufts Health Care Institute
 
This sentiment is familiar, and you know that without consumers, your organization is incomplete. Here are some ways to embed consumer engagement (CE) into your organization's DNA through the strategic planning process.
 
Map CE goals directly to AF4Q goals
 
How can consumers help achieve AF4Q cost and quality goals as well as quality/equality indicators? Every CE activity should relate directly to these goals. Take for example long-term indicator 28: “Alliances will show improvement in identified disparities..." This could be achieved in part by recruiting consumer representatives from organizations that represent diverse community members.
 
Allocate sufficient resources and funds
 
Consumer representatives may need reimbursement for costs including travel, childcare, meals, or modest monetary awards for participation.
 
Advocate for meaningful consumer engagement
 
All staff should remain vigilant about how consumers might be incorporated into any project or decision-making opportunity. Generally, having more than one consumer leader on Alliance boards and bodies is ideal for promoting equality among stakeholders.
 
 
Determine with all stakeholders the value of a Consumer Advisory Council (CAC), a consumer-only group supported by Alliance staff. CACs provide recommendations to other Alliance boards and bodies. Some communities have used their Councils as a way to get consumer input on Alliance activities, while others have assigned them specific tasks, such as selecting patient experience survey measures for improvement.