Patients' use and views of real-time feedback technology in general practice
© 2016 The Authors. Health Expectations Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
BACKGROUND: There is growing interest in real-time feedback (RTF), which involves collecting and summarizing information about patient experience at the point of care with the aim of informing service improvement. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the feasibility and acceptability of RTF in UK general practice. DESIGN: Exploratory randomized trial. SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Ten general practices in south-west England and Cambridgeshire. All patients attending surgeries were eligible to provide RTF. INTERVENTION: Touch screens were installed in waiting areas for 12 weeks with practice staff responsible for encouraging patients to provide RTF. All practices received fortnightly feedback summaries. Four teams attended a facilitated reflection session. OUTCOMES: RTF 'response rates' among consulting patients were estimated, and the representativeness of touch screen users were assessed. The frequency of staff-patient interactions about RTF (direct observation) and patient views of RTF (exit survey) were summarized. Associated costs were collated. RESULTS: About 2.5% consulting patients provided RTF (range 0.7-8.0% across practices), representing a mean of 194 responses per practice. Patients aged above 65 were under-represented among touch screen users. Receptionists rarely encouraged RTF but, when this did occur, 60% patients participated. Patients were largely positive about RTF but identified some barriers. Costs per practice for the twelve-week period ranged from £1125 (unfacilitated team-level feedback) to £1887 (facilitated team ± practitioner-level feedback). The main cost was the provision of touch screens. CONCLUSIONS: Response rates for RTF were lower than those of other survey modes, although the numbers of patients providing feedback to each practice were comparable to those achieved in the English national GP patient survey. More patients might engage with RTF if the opportunity were consistently highlighted to them.
This work was funded by a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Programme Grant for Applied Research (RP-PG-0608-10050). The NIHR played no part in designing the study, in the collection, analysis and interpretation of the data, in the writing of the article, or in the decision to submit it for publication. All researchers in the study are independent of the funding body.
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