Patient Experience – do you have your finger on the patient pulse?
A patient-centred view of health care promotes a strong consumer focus and delivery of the best outcomes that matter to patients. Information about patient experience and satisfaction provides valuable indicators for the monitoring and improvement of health care quality and performance.
‘A well-constructed primary health care survey offers a window into patients’ perceptions that is otherwise unavailable. Patients are uniquely positioned to report on their care experiences and they are often the only common thread across disparate health care settings’ (Wong 2013).
Typical patient surveys provide one snapshot at a point in time into patient experience. The reality is that feedback on health care experience is continuous and comes from many places. This includes patients themselves but also their family or carers and also from the staff that look after them. There are many places to look for feedback and every bit counts in building a realistic picture of patient experience and sentiment. This can range from enquiries through to compliments and complaints that can often reveal events and deficiencies that would not be routinely captured by incident reporting systems. Good patient communication and engagement can be greatly enhanced with a variety of easy to use of feedback methods. For Australian health care facilities this is also a major accreditation requirement and an area that many organisations struggle with.
With many different feedback sources (feedback cards, website, phone, email, letter, verbal) it can be hard to coordinate and manage contacts and follow-ups in a timely manner – let alone implement improvements. The popularity of Net Promoter Scores can add yet another fragmented data source to report on and understand in the wider context of the patients’ experience.
Providers can take a real-time pulse of their patients by implementing a single source of patient experience and satisfaction with proactive and regular prompts for feedback. Actively seeking feedback throughout a patient journey, for every patient, can yield a rich source of continuous insights into patient experience. This can be implemented in many different ways such as admission processes, bedside audits, SMS and email prompts for feedback triggered by an admission, transfer or discharge event.
With a single management system for feedback, data captured can be automatically reported in real-time into a management framework used by teams to track and report on improvements.
A coordinated and timely response in following-up patient feedback can enhance the patient experience and resolve grievances quickly by translating feedback into action and improvement.
So how well do you know the collective heartbeat of your patients?