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Study Finds Lack of Encouragement from Healthcare Professionals Towards Online Feedback From Patients

Despite enthusiasm from health policymakers, many health care professionals have little direct experience of online feedback, and rarely encourage it, as they view it as unrepresentative and with limited value for improving the quality of health services, a new study finds.

For the study, published in Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, researchers conducted a cross-sectional self-completed online questionnaire of 1001 registered doctors and 749 nurses and midwives involved in direct patient care in the United Kingdom.

The study found feedback on reviews/ratings sites was seen as more useful than social media feedback to help improve services. Both types of feedback were more likely to be seen as useful by nurses compared with doctors and by hospital-based professionals compared with those based in community settings. Doctors were more likely than nurses to believe that online feedback is unrepresentative and generally negative in tone. The majority of respondents had never encouraged patients/carers to leave online feedback. The findings have implications for policy and practice in how online patient feedback is solicited and acted upon.

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