The use of patient experience survey data by out-of-hours primary care services: a qualitative interview study
BMJ Quality and Safety
BMJ Publishing Group
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BACKGROUND: English National Quality Requirements mandate out-of-hours primary care services to routinely audit patient experience, but do not state how it should be done. OBJECTIVES: We explored how providers collect patient feedback data and use it to inform service provision. We also explored staff views on the utility of out-of-hours questions from the English General Practice Patient Survey (GPPS). METHODS: A qualitative study was conducted with 31 staff (comprising service managers, general practitioners and administrators) from 11 out-of-hours primary care providers in England, UK. Staff responsible for patient experience audits within their service were sampled and data collected via face-to-face semistructured interviews. RESULTS: Although most providers regularly audited their patients' experiences by using patient surveys, many participants expressed a strong preference for additional qualitative feedback. Staff provided examples of small changes to service delivery resulting from patient feedback, but service-wide changes were not instigated. Perceptions that patients lacked sufficient understanding of the urgent care system in which out-of-hours primary care services operate were common and a barrier to using feedback to enable change. Participants recognised the value of using patient experience feedback to benchmark services, but perceived weaknesses in the out-of-hours items from the GPPS led them to question the validity of using these data for benchmarking in its current form. CONCLUSIONS: The lack of clarity around how out-of-hours providers should audit patient experience hinders the utility of the National Quality Requirements. Although surveys were common, patient feedback data had only a limited role in service change. Data derived from the GPPS may be used to benchmark service providers, but refinement of the out-of-hours items is needed.
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
Author's manuscript. The final published version is available on open access via doi:10.1136/bmjqs-2015-003963
Online First article. doi:10.1136/bmjqs-2015-003963