Healthcare - measuring and improving patient outcomes
Healthcare is a sector driven by science, innovation and excellence - with a long tradition in professionalism, ethics and patient care. Like so many endeavours today, the health sector is blessed with ever-advancing technology, whilst being plagued by an ever-increasing burden of limited funding and constrained resources. But unlike many other endeavours, the consequence of poor quality in healthcare can have a far greater and lasting impact on the lives and wellbeing of individual patients and their families.
In recent years, a catalogue of serious local and overseas medical
incidents has resulted in a series of well-publicised, and deep reaching
public inquiries. One of the recurring finding from these
inquiries has been the importance placed on actively learning from
patient feedback about their experiences.
By effectively encouraging and responding to patient feedback, health
services are able to identify, remedy and reduce sources of poor
service; reduce patient risk and improve quality.
CTMA has found that in most areas of the public and private sector,
customers can be one of the best sources of insight for innovation and
quality improvement. By adopting a robust approach to managing and
learning from patient feedback, healthcare organisations can harness
that insight and turn it into management actions to drive continuous
improvement and achieve better patient outcomes.
The risks and costs of a poor patient experience
The benefits from improving patient experience in healthcare are not
confined to the avoidance of catastrophic failures. Poor patient
experiences can also undermine many desired clinical and business
outcomes in healthcare. Potential clinical risks linked to poor patient
- Reduced patient cooperation in prevention practices
- Reduced patient compliance with disease management
- Reduced compliance with advice and treatment regimes
Lower levels of patient satisfaction can also have an impact on
operational aspects of healthcare:
- Patient dissatisfaction can have a direct impact on the
satisfaction, attentiveness and attendance of staff, and also lead
to increased levels of staff turnover
- Poor patient satisfaction can lead to poor communication and
continuity between patient and healthcare professional
- Dissatisfied patients can be more costly to care for, making
increasing demands and exhibit less cooperation and patience
Each of these issues can contribute directly to increased
costs of patient care and reduced success in achieving an optimum
Conversely, an effective approach to measuring and managing
improvements in patients’ experience of health services can reduce risks
and improve the potential of success in clinical and operational
Turning patient experiences into management actions
With the costs and risks associated with service-failure, the health
sector is placing greater emphasis on closing the loop with patients and
adopting effective programmes of patient experience measurement and
CTMA’s experience in the public sector has identified five important
steps organisations must take in order to fully exploit the
opportunities that can come from customer feedback. By adopting such an
approach, healthcare can transition from merely
measuring patient satisfaction, to actively
managing patient experiences and improving the associated
clinical and operational outcomes.
In all quality systems, the effort (and cost) required to achieve a
specific level of quality grows in a nonlinear way with regard to the
benefit. But in healthcare, the consequences of poor patient
experiences are also drastically nonlinear.
CTMA’s approach to service-quality improvement places an emphasis on
developing cost-effective measurement tools that support the quality
management process and reduce the operational burden on identifying and
prioritising management actions.
This approach serves to liberate management and staff to focus
valuable time and skills on making the improvements that can have the
biggest impact on successful outcomes.
For more information about CTMA’s patient feedback solutions for
healthcare, and how they can help your organisation use patient
experience metrics to maximise clinical and operational outcomes, please contact us.