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Updates from today's Patient Experience Summit

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This conference will focus on measuring, understanding and acting on patient experience insight, and demonstrating responsiveness to that insight to improve care.

The conference is cahired by Paul Jebb - Associate Director of Nursing, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust

Claire Marshall - Experience of Care Professional Lead, NHS England will deliver a session on Improving Patient Experience and Experiences of Care. She is responsible for leading the national programme for Always Events, a programme developed by the Picker Institute and Institute of Healthcare Improvement that has coproduction and co-design as its guiding principles. Claire joined NHS England in August 2017 on a secondment from Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust where she is Head of Patient Experience.  She has spent her 23 year career as a Physiotherapist.  

Professor Debra de Silva - Head of Evaluation, The Evidence Centre will run a session on Measuring experience: Methods and tools for measurement 


Focus on what we want to achieve: How can we find out about people’s experience of health and care? Is it a matter of asking people to tick a few boxes or spending two days listening to their life story? Are we interested in expectations, satisfaction, involvement, motivation or activation? The best methods depend on what we are trying to achieve and how the information will be used.

There is no need to start from scratch: There are a wide range of methods and tools already available, so teams wanting to try something new need not reinvent the wheel. Approaches include, but are not limited to, asking people informal questions in person, videoing or writing patient stories, validated or bespoke surveys, discussion groups, rating websites, mystery shoppers, observation, telephone follow up calls, emails or texts, shadowing, ongoing participation panels, collating social media posts, crowdsourcing and codesign sessions.

Make sure tools are fit for purpose: There is more than one ‘patient experience’ so it may be best to use a range of methods to engage different groups. Some of the approaches commonly used in the NHS may be more likely to engage with people who feel they have something to say, are relatively articulate and come from particular cultures or backgrounds. We may need to think more creatively to ensure we hear the experience of a wide range of ethnic, age and language groups.

Do something with it: A key to success is hearing and using the feedback, with people using services, carers and staff working side by side to act. Feedback can be presented via dashboards, graphs, infographics, quotes, case stories, videos, reports and ‘you said, we did’ fliers, amongst others. The important thing is that it is visible, part of business as usual and seen as a help rather than a hindrance.

The exact measures matter less than what we do with them: Any tools we use need to be fit for purpose, easy to implement and able to track changes over time – but perhaps the important consideration in measuring experience is not the measures themselves, but building a context and culture to use them for improvement. There are many examples of looking at patient experience because we ‘have to’ rather than seeing it as integral to care. Staff development and education is therefore an important part of building a culture that values and seeks out patient experience. It is not about individual staff, but changing the way patients, staff and organisations think, learn and work together. We need not get too focused on identifying the best measures, but instead concentrate on how we will use this information to change and improve.

Jean Tucker - Patient Experience Quality Improvement, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will deliver a session on Learning from excellence in Patient Experience Practice FFT and Patient Insight for Improvement Small Steps – Big Changes. Jean Tucker has worked in the Patient Experience Improvement Team at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust for 8 years taking a proactive role in helping wards to identify and improve areas that matter to patients.


The Small Steps Project started as a study funded by the National Institute for Health Research whose aim to get a better understanding of how frontline staff use patient feedback data to improve health services. During the course of the project, we found that staff did not take any ownership of the data, not recognising it as their problem and not taking any initiatives to introduce improvement ideas. The staffs were not working as a team and so, in order to improve the patient experience we acknowledged that we had to improve things for the staff first. The leadership journey began as a deficit based model evolving into an appreciative enquiry model with co-design used at appropriate points.  The project was effective in that all ward staff became engaged with the overall objective of improving their patients’ experience.  Initiatives failed and these were learnt from while successes were celebrated. The project started with a transactional leadership style and transition into transformational collective leadership.  The philosophy became totally patient focussed as the project progressed. The success of the project can be measured on how engaged the staff became.  Their enthusiasm grew with their successes.  The project is also sustainable as the staff  now take ownership of their feedback data and know how to respond with actions.

Key learning

If you are serious about improving the patient experience, you have to improve the experience of the staff first. Ownership of data has to be closest to the patient to make the biggest difference and anecdotal data is as important as ‘official’ feedback data.


16 July 2018


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