Modern day healthcare has taken on a patient-led agenda; with the NHS ‘friends and family test’ to be introduced from April 2013, patient feedback being an integral part of the revalidation of doctors and the NHS mandate’s focus on ensuring patients have a positive experience of care. Patient experience was also a key theme of the MPS International Conference 2012 – Quality and Safety in Healthcare: Making a Difference, this week.
Dr Neil Bacon, Founder of doctors.net and iwantgreatcare.org who spoke at the conference, believes that to ignore the patient’s voice is to miss the point of quality healthcare completely. He said: “Patients know when the care they are receiving is good, and they want to provide feedback to improve outcomes for others. When organisations deliver a great patient experience, they deliver safe care and good outcomes, at low cost, with high staff morale.
He added that if the NHS is serious about improving patient experience, it must lower the barriers that may prevent patients from being able to provide feedback. “Social media must be embraced in order to capture both excellence and the potential for improvement” he said. “Patient experience can be described as the ‘smoke detector of patient safety’ – without it, we do not know what dangers lie ahead.”
Tapping into patient experience was a recurring theme at the conference. Dr Michael J Von Bertele, chief executive at the Picker Institute said: “Used to its fullest potential, data on patient experiences can be used as part of process reviews to find out what needs to change to improve safety. However, data is merely a collection of numbers until you do something tangible with it. Making changes to policy in relation to negative feedback is only the tip of the iceberg – the real challenge is changing culture.”
The MPS Quality and Safety International Conference focused on patient experience; cost effectiveness of quality; creating a culture of safety and the place of professionalism.
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