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What Matters to Patients?
When I get to read the results of patient surveys they regularly tell us that they think about about their experience of care as much as clinical effectiveness and safety. They want to be informed, supported and listened to so that they can make informed decisions and choices about their care. They want to be treated as a person not just a NHS number and they value efficient processes.
We are often reminded that patient experience is a crucial part of quality healthcare provision. The CQC and the NICE Quality Standards all reinforce the need for patient centred care.
For patient experience to be used effectively within an organisation we need to be prepared to change, and becoming an organisation that routinely focuses on listening and acting on patient feedback involves culture change. Patients need to feel involved in the decision making process and it must be demonstrated that this leads to service improvement. Treatment should be based around the patient journey providing consistent integrated care. There also needs to be a positive learning approach to complaints handling and both patient concerns and compliments should be shared with all healthcare staff, both clinical and non-clinical.
All staff should be involved in providing a good patient experience and I believe new members of staff should have this explained to them as part of their induction. Staff must be aware that patients regularly give feedback on the service they receive and what happens when processes need to be reviewed or improved to continuously provide a good service. The individuality of patients, families and their carers must be communicated to in a way that is meaningful to them.
The information collected from patient feedback is invaluable to enable healthcare providers to continue to provide good clinical care and standards. It is not solely to be used to measure patient satisfaction it should be used to ensure processes and procedures are in place to lead to positive changes for patients and also for the organisation.