Using feedback to improve your care

‘You can’t manage what you can’t measure’. This well-known quote by management thinker and ‘the founder of modern management’, Peter Drucker, is a great way to set the scene for this month’s article in our series on patient experience. 

You cannot know whether you are successful unless success is defined and tracked. To improve, we need to measure. Jane Braithwaite here focuses on how you can measure patient experience to ensure your strategy is working and leading to the improvements you want to make.

What are you measuring?

To measure anything requires clear criteria to measure against. 

Earlier in the series, as part of defining the patient experience strategy, we discussed the importance of setting your vision, which describes what you want your practice/clinic/hospital to be and also your objectives to ensure you achieve this vision. These will be important, as they will now become the basis for your measurement criteria. 

As you set out your measurement criteria, it is useful to think ahead about how the findings will be used. It is important to measure the right things that will allow you to track improvements. 

In the US, there are a set of trademarked surveys called CAHPS surveys, which stands for Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems. These have been created by the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and are designed to report on the aspects of patient experience that are important. They are free to use and may well serve a useful purpose within the UK market too. 

The measurement criteria you choose will obviously depend on your own vision and objectives, but looking at the questions asked in the CAHPS survey is helpful for inspiration. As an example, if one of your main objectives is to ensure that patients can book an appointment in a timely manner within your clinic or hospital, you may choose a measure such as the following: 

In the last six months, when you needed care right away, how often did you get that care as soon as you needed it? 

The patient would be prompted to choose from the following answers: 

  • Never;
  • Sometimes;
  • Usually;
  • Always.