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Why Improvements Based on Patient Experience Rarely Materialize

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Collecting feedback from patients about their experiences of health care is an important activity. However, improvement based on this feedback rarely materializes. In a study published in Health Expectations, an international journal of public participation in health care and health policy, researchers focused on identifying the impediments to the use of patient experience feedback. They conducted a qualitative study in 2016 across three NHS hospital Trusts in the North of England, with focus groups undertaken with ward‐based staff, and interviews with hospital managers.

The study found on a macro level, that the intense focus on the collection of patient experience feedback has developed into its own self‐perpetuating industry with a significant allocation of resource, effort and time being expended on this task. This is often at the expense of pan‐organizational learning or improvements being made. On a micro level, ward staff struggled to interact with feedback due to its complexity with questions raised about the value, validity and timeliness of data sources. The study concluded that macro and micro prohibiting factors come together in a perfect storm which provides a substantial impediment to improvements being made.

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