Patient experience survey proves its value

12 Feb 2015 | Health Quality Intelligence

The Health Quality & Safety Commission’s new national survey of public hospital inpatients is proving its value as a tool for identifying where care improvement is necessary.

For the second survey, released today, over 6000 people who were inpatients between 3 and 16 November 2014 were asked to rate out of 10 their experience of communication, partnership, coordination of their care, and having their physical and emotional needs met.

As in the first survey, released at the beginning of November, the average national rating for each of the four areas was more than eight, with little variation between individual district health boards (DHBs).

Richard Hamblin, the Commission’s director of health quality evaluation, says the response rate for the survey has risen from 24 to 27 percent and is on track for the 40 percent the Commission is seeking.

‘Our increased use of email rather than texts to distribute the survey is proving effective and makes our target very achievable,’ says Mr Hamblin.

‘Meanwhile, when we check respondents against patients discharged during the survey period, we can see they are representative in terms of gender and reasonably so for age and ethnicity, although we would like more responses from Pacific people and people aged under 25.

‘These are all things we will continue to focus on as the survey grows and develops.’

As well as rating their broad experience in the four areas, patients were asked 20 more detailed questions, with the possible answers: ‘Yes, definitely/yes, to some extent/no.’

Scores in the ‘Yes, definitely’ category range from 47 percent (‘Did a member of staff tell you about medication side effects to watch for when you went home?’) to 87 percent (‘Overall, did you feel staff treated you with respect and dignity while you were in the hospital?’).

Reducing harm from high-risk medicines is the current focus of the Commission’s Open for better care national patient safety campaign.

Dr John Barnard, the Commission’s clinical lead for medication safety, says the low score across all DHBs for advice about medication side effects shows there is work to be done.

‘It is important to take the time to find out what a patient understands about their medicines,’ he says. ‘Written advice is useful with any medicine, because patients may not remember all they are told, and it is essential for high-risk medicines.’

Other scores showing work to be done were received for the questions ‘Did the hospital staff include your family/whanau or someone close to you in discussions about your care?’ (55 percent), ‘Do you feel you received enough information from the hospital on how to manage your condition after your discharge?’ (61 percent) and ‘Were you involved as much as you wanted to be in decisions about your care and treatment?’ (69 percent).

‘The implications for not working in partnership, not giving clear, understandable information and not involving patients and family/whānau enough in decisions are well documented,’ says Dr Chris Walsh, director of the Commission’s Partners in Care consumer engagement programme. ‘DHBs now have an opportunity with this data to explore further these important aspects of patient experience.’

Click the link below to read the results of the survey.

Last updated 04/03/2015