Patient engagement is all the rage in health care right now, as hospitals try to figure out how to harness the expertise of the consumer and deliver a more valuable visit. But how is the industry really performing in this new way of providing care?

The American Hospital Association-affiliated Health Research & Educational Trust is aiming to answer the question with a recently administered 40-question survey. Supported by a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the group polled some 1,400 organizations around the country to learn how they're doing in 20 different areas of engagement. Those range from inclusion of patients on advisory councils to adoption of 24-hour visitation policies, or the execution of shift-change reports at the bedside.

HRET President Maulik Joshi says that the results — set to be revealed during a 1 p.m. CT webinar Wednesday — were mixed.

"You've got a lot of hospitals that are doing half of these practices, very few hospitals doing all of them, and very few hospitals doing very few of them. So, what it basically says is that we've got a big difference between what we think all of them should be doing versus where the average is today," Joshi says.

Along with the survey results, the 75-minute webinar will also include case studies from three hospitals working to excel in the patient engagement movement — the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System, Health Central Hospital in Ocoee, Fla., and Schneck Medical Center in Seymour, Ind. Joshi anticipates that the survey will become a biennial tradition, with HRET continuing to measure the industry's progress every other year.

When I interviewed Joshi for the first part of our ongoing series on patient engagement back in February, he said that he hoped the data might help to propel the issue of patient engagement forward in the same way patient safety data is leading to enormous improvements in the field.

"It's important to know where you stand to know where you want to improve," Joshi told me last week. "So, that's the biggest thing. There are lots of great hospitals doing lots of innovative practices and we need to spread those, and that's where I think we're at at this stage," Joshi says. "Here's where we are. Here's where we want to get, and here are some great places and practices that we can learn from, and let's figure out how we can spread them."