Physician anesthesiologists are recognized across the health care landscape as leaders in patient safety. Despite increasing surgical case complexity and increasing patient comorbidities, anesthesia outcomes continue to be exemplary. But bad outcomes and major adverse events, while rare, still occur. Despite tremendous effort from our specialty, there is always more work to be done. One key aspect of care we can improve upon is patient engagement.

Recently, patient engagement has been linked positively to several aspects of health care, including improved outcomes, trends toward lower costs and increased patient satisfaction. How can we as physician anesthesiologists engage patients to further foster patient safety?

Since the Institute of Medicine’s Crossing the Quality Chasm report, patient-centered care, hallmarked by patient engagement, has been an expectation of health care reform. Unfortunately, no universal definition of patient engagement currently exists. Gallivan et al., after reviewing the literature and conducting focus groups and interviews with...

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