Making it easy for patients to give feedback on their care using an online platform

Brook is a national charity offering clinical sexual health services and education and wellbeing services for young people. This organisation worked with iwantgreatcare (iWGC) to introduce a feedback system that allows each patient to give feedback after their consultation and supports doctors and nurses to gather continuous and real-time, meaningful patient feedback. There are costs attached to setting up and running the system, but these are felt to be worth the benefits it brings.

Each patient is given a card with a link to Brook’s iWGC feedback page and asked to complete a short survey about the service and clinician they saw. In addition to NHS’s Friends and Family question, the survey includes the following questions:

  • Were you treated with dignity and respect?
  • Were you involved as much as you wanted to be in your care and treatment?
  • Did you receive timely information about your care and treatment?
  • Were you treated with kindness and compassion by the staff looking after you?
  • What was good about your care. And what could be improved?

The survey can be completed online (such as, using ipads in the waiting room) or on paper. Staff are on hand to help patients who need support to give feedback. Patients can give feedback immediately after their consultation, or in their own time if they prefer.

The system makes it simple to collect and process large volumes of qualitative feedback (comments), which is usually more meaningful than ratings alone. For example, sentiment analysis of qualitative comments produces positivity rates that complement and contextualise other quantitative metrics. Feedback results are available instantly through a data dashboard and, on a weekly basis, results are collated by the provider and shared with Brook. Having access to independently monitored, detailed and timely feedback helps Brook measure patient experience and outcomes at service, team and clinician level.

Patients who post negative or critical feedback receive an individual online response from Brook. This allows them to close the ‘feedback loop’ with patients, in an open and transparent way.

Doctors are encouraged to create their own profiles and regularly reflect on feedback left by their patients. They can download and print out a report at any time, containing all their feedback and use this for their appraisal and revalidation. Despite initial concerns of some about the potential for the system to be abused, feedback is overwhelmingly positive and boosts staff morale. The system includes mechanisms to detect fake or malicious ratings and reviews, as well as to prevent campaigning and multiple reviews. Clinicians and patients are encouraged to report any reviews that might not be genuine. Brook have found that over time, more doctors are creating their own profile.

Dr Anatole Menon-Johansson, Clinical lead for sexual health at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and Clinical Director at Brook, said ‘iWGC is an important tool for doctors to capture ongoing feedback from the patients they serve, validating their role and supporting their development’.