Patient feedback is essential to providing patient-centred care. Listening to that feedback can help improve health care services being delivered across the organization. The care we deliver is shaped by what matters most to our patients, but what happens when the feedback isn’t there?
That was the case with Providence Healthcare’s patient satisfaction surveys. Response rates were too low for the surveys to be valid.
“We needed a way to improve the process,” explains Thelma Horwitz, Director of Quality and Process Improvement. “Under the patient-centred dimension for the Providence 2012/13 Quality Improvement Plan, we set a target to increase our patient satisfaction survey response rate to 31 per cent by March 31, 2013. To accomplish this task, we needed to take a new approach to administering surveys.”
Led by Executive Assistant Jennifer Howden who took on the role of Project Lead, coached by Quality Improvement Manager, Heidi Hunter, the approach included outlining specific roles for the process, creating a new online, tablet driven medium for survey collection, determining the process for survey distribution and collection, and creating a process for monitoring and providing feedback to units regarding monthly targets for patient satisfaction surveys.
Working with Providence’s Volunteer Program Coordinator, Fran Hitchmough, volunteers were recruited to conduct the surveys.
“We realized we had this fantastic resource of wonderful people at our fingertips,” explains Howden. “Once we had our volunteers lined up, we created standard work for them to follow.”
As part of the process, volunteers replenish printed surveys on each hospital floor, check discharge boards daily for patients scheduled to be discharged, and then conduct surveys with patients that are leaving using an electronic tablet.
“Prior to these changes, our survey response rate was only 20 per cent. As of January 1, 2013, we are achieving a response rate of 38 per cent on average across all our units,” says Howden.
Adds Hunter, “Because we’ve been able to achieve a higher response rate, we’ve been able to collect a larger breadth of patient feedback and suggestions.”
Next steps for this project – sustaining the changes and looking at a standard approach for responding to comments and feedback in a timely manner.
“We have a better pulse regarding how our patients and their families feel we are doing,” says Horwitz. “We are capturing double the amount of compliments as compared to the same time last year.”
“This would not have been possible without the help of our volunteers.”