Date Published: 6 January 2011
NHS Confederation Reports: Happier patients will lead to better results
A recent report published by the NHS Confederation argues that the importance of patient experience should not be forgotten amid efforts to find savings and efficiencies in the health service.
In its report "Feeling better? Improving patient experience in hospital" the Confederation argues that ensuring patients have a good experience can improve the quality and success rates of care as well as reduce costs. That sounds obvious but the report goes further, citing research and evidence in support of its message.
The report says that well informed patients who feel they are listened to and are comfortable in their surroundings are less likely to develop complications or need readmission. It also cites case studies from the United States (US) that suggest this can also lead to better performance against measures of mortality as well as producing better long-term health prospects for patients.
Along with case studies outlining how some hospitals have worked to improve patient experience, the report provides a checklist to help organisations improve.
The report suggests that a successful strategy to improve patient experience needs to:
- develop strong leadership (in staff),
- be implemented across the whole hospital,
- change behaviours as well as just structures,
- engage patients and their families, and
- fully involve medical staff.
Jo Webber, the deputy director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said that running a modern health service demand a patient-centred approach.
“We hear a great deal about the need to focus on the patient but we need to be honest about what that means and whether our organisations are really achieving the kinds of standards of patient experience they should be,”she said.
“There has been huge progress in recent years on things like the time people are waiting for care and the standard of the treatment they receive. It is now appropriate for us to be looking at the kinds of experiences people get in hospital as well.
? Simple things like spending time with patients, talking to them, listening to their concerns and addressing issues like noise, privacy and the quality of food, can make a huge difference.
? People who have a better experience in these terms are happier, healthier and do better. That ultimately means they will also cost the hospital less to get back on their feet again as well as being less likely to be readmitted
? One of the most concerning things about the situation that developed at Mid Staffs Hospital, which this report reflects upon, was the sense that patients were not being listened to and that even people who received satisfactory care, reported that their experiences were not very positive.
? Poor patient experience is often indicative of deeper, more worrying concerns and as such is something everyone in the NHS needs to take very seriously.”
Source: The NHS Confederation (UK). - from Press Release.