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Measuring Experience - Improving Services
Using Patient Experience Information requires that organisations have the capacity to collate and analyse data. It is also important to have good systems for managing and tracking the data collected. The most important issue is how Patient Experience information leads to change. Kings College London and Kings Fund, What Matters to Patients.

Research findings – how to make patient experience measurement meaningful:

The research examined ‘what a good measurement system looks like’ and developed the following requirements for measurement strategy and process:

Commit resources to develop a local infrastructure for collecting, analysing, interpreting and reporting on patient experience data

This may include:
  • dedicated posts to oversee and coordinate the work and provide expertise
  • a budget for training, for creating feedback materials and for drawing on external expertise
  • protected time for staff to review feedback and learn from patient experience
The NHS should only seek feedback directly from patients that is uniquely available from them – ask them about their experience of care, not how long they had to wait. . Kings College London and Kings Fund, What Matters to Patients.Collect information about patient experience in a variety of ways
  • no single method will give you all the information you need – the important point is not to rely exclusively on annual satisfaction surveys
  • numbers (quantitative data) and stories (qualitative data) are of equal importance and can be collected in a variety of ways, and should be considered together, i.e. triangulation
  • compliments and complaints are equally valuable

Data should:

  • be collected regularly and systematically and as near to real time as possible, using a range of technologies, as appropriate
  • be collected for specific services, and as close to clinical teams as possible (so that feedback can be as direct and relevant as possible)
  • be collected along care pathways as well as for single episodes of care
  • allow for comparisons over time, and for benchmarking within and between services and organisations
  • work across organisational boundaries
  • focus on patients’ and service users’ feelings about the way they are treated, as well as on what actually happens to them
  • focus on what matters to patients, and not try to measure everything

Use feedback to improve services:

  • make improving patient experience an explicit part of the remit of local quality improvement/change teams
  • develop and support the development of the relevant expertise in local quality improvement/change teams
  • make patient experience an integral part of all local quality improvement/service redesign projects

Facilitate and support the ongoing involvement of patients:

  • work with patients during the process of collecting data to provide opportunities for staff to hear directly from patients
  • staff and patients can work together on projects to co-design/co-produce existing or new services
  • include patients whose experiences are seldom heard, for example patients with communication difficulties and people with learning disabilities
  • feedback to patients what happens after the information is collected and analysed

Extract taken from What Matters to Patients ResearchLayout 1_Page 18.jpgPrepare staff and equip them to respond:

  • information about patient experience, and the need for improvements, must be fed back to staff in ways that help them to recognise its value and alongside feedback on patient outcomes and safety
  • staff development goes hand in hand with improving patient experience - staff need help to 'own' feedback about the service they provide and to act on it. They need support to hear and respond positively to difficult feedback

Triangulate data from different sources to get a more complete picture, such as:

  • patient stories
  • surveys (both local and national)
  • complaints
  • PALS data
  • incident Reports
  • general feedback

The Research from What Matters to Patients indicated that some organisations are beginning to bring different types of data together in a sophisticated way to identify organisational 'hotspots' - services where patients may be especially at risk owing to poor quality, shortages of staff or demand pressures. But in the main, patient experience data are under-used and poorly understood. There were relatively few examples of services or organisations systematically comparing their performance on patient experience with others. One site rejected the notion of benchmarking altogether on the grounds that all their services were unique and it would be unfair to do so; others encouraged it but felt it was difficult to achieve.

"We operate an integrated governance system and each service then monitors a range of metrics, and it expected to triangulate them. So, clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, complaints, incidents are all analysed up to service line level and presented...each service line knows where it stands on all those areas, so you can see a pattern coming up."

NHS Camden Provider Services

The essential guide for transforming patient experience

Transforming Patient Experience: the essential guide

What you are already doing: NHS Hampshire. We use patient experience interviews to reshape services and review effect of services.

Patient experience and engagement resources Resources to support you with patient engagement and experience