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Blog: Patient experience feedback vital to the quality of general practice care – College

Primary care Patient experience
04 May 2018

Dr Kate Wang is General Manager, Quality at the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners[1]. She is also a member of the Ministry of Health’s primary care patient experience survey governance group. Here she talks about the importance of patient feedback to ensure practices are providing the best possible services.

I believe that understanding the patient’s experience is vital to the quality of care GPs provide. One area of the College’s CORNERSTONE® programme[2] is about engaging with your patients and responding to their feedback. So, from the College’s perspective the primary care patient experience survey is vital for the planning and development of services, and for improving the quality of care.

The survey ultimately enables practices to compare their results for different domains with those of other practices, PHOs can compare with other PHOs, and primary care can compare itself with secondary care. Previously, you couldn’t do that. Now you can get a sense of how you are doing; and you can benchmark against others.

I understand the challenges practices face in implementing the survey. They are busy, and new initiatives like this survey can be time consuming, and that can be a barrier. However, I encourage all general practices to take part in the survey. It’s a really good tool that will help you understand different views on how your service is being provided.

Understanding and interpreting the data is also a key part of the process. Undertaking the survey is one thing, but you have to extract the data, and analyse it from a practice and a PHO perspective. Only then, can you consider what improvements you can make based on the feedback you have received.

The College is also looking to use the survey data to improve our quality programmes. We would like to incorporate the data into our quality standard Aiming for Excellence. There is great potential to improve the quality standard, indicators and criteria using patient feedback.


  1. Dr Wang’s team is responsible for developing and maintaining the quality standard Aiming for Excellence, and helping practices gain and retain the College’s quality CORNERSTONE® accreditation as well as the Foundation Standard Certification. The College has around 5,000 GP members, and 675 CORNERSTONES® – accredited practices, and 286 Foundation standard certified practices.
  2. CORNERSTONE® is the RNZCGP’s programme that assesses practices using the Aiming for Excellence standard. Aiming for Excellence is the quality standard for general practice in New Zealand.

Author: Dr Kate Wang