Surveys put power in hands of patients


Health writer Estelle Ellis had a chat to the city’s biggest hospitals to ask them what they did with patient feedback

IF YOU are a member of Discovery medical aid, you would have been asked to fill in a Patient Survey Score after a hospital stay in the past five years. The PaSS survey was adapted from the well-established Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey developed by the United States Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality.

PaSS objectively measures some in-hospital service elements of the patient experience of healthcare, such as the responsiveness of hospital staff, how well pain was controlled, and the adequacy of discharge information during the hospital stay.

Discovery Health chief executive Dr Jonathan Broomberg said: “Results from this survey, combined with information from surveys hospitals conduct themselves, provide insights into how our members experience hospital services.”

He said the survey had great potential to enable the South African healthcare system to move towards the goal of “patient-centred” care.

“Successful patient-centred healthcare systems seek to understand the needs of patients, and address these needs by involving patients in decision-making, and responding quickly to their needs,” Broomberg said.

Head of quality at Discovery Health Dr Roshini Moodley Naidoo said: “We believe informed and empowered patients and skilled, knowledgeable, and motivated healthcare professionals will make a good healthcare system even better.

“We know hospitals and doctors will use this feedback to add to their existing improvement efforts.”

Life Healthcare Group chief executive Andre Meyer said: “For the last 10 years Life Healthcare has conducted on-going quantitative and qualitative research within our hospitals to deliver an enhanced customer experience.”

Meyer said the Discovery Health survey provided an additional stream of qualitative research on which to build and which was aligned to a patient-centric approach.

Meyer explained what they did with patient feedback.

He said: “We continuously capture patient feedback at multiple points of the patient journey, and have numerous programmes that align to our commitment to high quality care.”

He said at Life Healthcare hospitals there were a number of ways for patients to convey their thoughts about the hospital.

These included an ongoing patient experience management survey and the Life Healthcare CARE Programme, which focused on creating “refreshing, thoughtful, considerate and compassionate” interactions.

He also said: “Training for an estimated 24 000 people including management, doctors, students and service providers will be provided.”

Netcare’s director of quality leadership Dr Dena van den Bergh said the hospital group was committed to quality patient care and working closely with healthcare stakeholders such as patients and their families, medical practitioners and medical funders to provide quality care.

“One of these elements is our patients’ perceptions of their hospital experience,” Van den Bergh said.

“Netcare hospitals, including Netcare Greenacres Hospital, have been using HCAHPS to empower our patients, as active consumers of healthcare, to make their voice known regarding the service they experienced in our hospitals.”

“Netcare’s survey goes to patients across the spectrum of medical schemes in South Africa as well as private patients, and its scope is illustrated by the 276 697 respondents who provided feedback for the past 12 months, October 2014 to September 2015.

“Netcare measures the experience of patients per individual hospital as well as collectively for the group, and benchmarks the results against those of more than 4 000 hospitals in the US which also use the HCAHPS methodology to measure their patients’ experience.

“Netcare hospitals compare very favourably with these hospitals across virtually all parameters.

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