As part of our ongoing commitment to achieving and maintaining quality care and service at the DEC we have once again participated in this external benchmarking tool which is benchmarked with like facilities. This enables us to not only compare our results but also compare ourselves to our competitors.
This survey is very comprehensive and has recently been redeveloped to include changes to quality reporting in line with the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (NSQHS) which now govern the quality analysis of facilities. Patients admitted during the survey period are asked to complete their survey at home after their procedure and are provided with a reply paid envelope to encourage the return of completed surveys. Patients have the ability to add comments and feedback which is useful for “drilling down” actual perceptions rather than an idealistic view obtained by “number crunching”. The value of comments received cannot be underestimated; they form part of our feedback to our staff who delight in the excellence response received but also help to reinforce their purpose and how they fit within the service delivery. Where a staff member is singled out for mention a copy of the patient satisfaction survey is attached to the employee’s personnel file. This really demonstrates how patient satisfaction and employee satisfaction go hand in hand.
The patient satisfaction survey covers eight areas:
- Appointment and Waiting Times
- Location and Physical Access
- Care, Services and Treatment
- The Billing Process
- Decision Making and Involvement
- Discharge Process
- Transfer Process
- Pain Management
- Overall Patient Satisfaction index
Patient Satisfaction Survey
We achieved the following results in these areas:
Our patient satisfaction response with the appointment and waiting times was 93.99%. This is significantly higher that the result achieved in 2012 (88.8%). The improvement is attributed to the development of a telephony centre at the DEC which has allowed us to direct our telephone calls away from our reception desk. This has decreased the stress on reception staff by isolating in person patients and telephone patients. Improved care can now be provided to all patients. The added bonus has been an improvement in staff satisfaction.
The satisfaction with location and physical access was 87.11%. This again is an improvement from the previous survey (80.9%). Car parking continues to be the area which scored the lowest although the result was remarkably higher than it has been in the past. With no alternative, due to the administering of anaesthetic agents for procedures resulting in patients needing to be collected post procedure, there appears no possibility of improving the current parking issues. The overall parking result achieved this year was 77.63% compared to 49.8% in 2012. Inner city parking is not an isolated issue but one we must learn to live with alas.
The care, services and treatment section is a combination of the previous our staff, facilities and services sections and has been merged in the updated survey. The combined result for 2013 was 97.43%. This is an improvement on all the previous results (in 2012 our staff rated 96.98%; 83.92% was achieved from facilities and services although the result achieved in 2012 was significantly lower that the results achieved prior to then (94.3% in 2011 and 83.69 % in 2010). Such an improvement is seen as a fitting reward for a quality service provided by caring staff in an appropriate setting with excellent patient outcomes achieved over many years. Our focus has always been on reducing patient anxiety at the prospect of undergoing a medical procedure. We have overhauled our patient information; engaged with consumers to ensure the information we provide is clear and relevant to our patients; we are updating our website to include images within our workplace so patients get a sense of familiarity when they present for treatment and are greeted by staff who will provide them with the quality of care they deserve.
Following on from the results achieved in care, service and treatment is the improvement in the information satisfaction rating. Our patients scored our information 94.96% which is again an improvement from 2012 (91.7%). With the benefit of the changes to be made to our current information recommended by our consumer group we certainly hope to achieve even more improvement in the future.
The billing process rated in line with previous years (92.35% compared to 92.1% in 2012). There have been several internal changes to the billing for one health fund and the attempts to minimise the disruption to patients has obviously achieved its objection with the stabilisation of the responses. The billing process is managed to a large extent behind the scenes with claims lodged directly to funds for the majority of our patients. The out of sight out of mind saying seems to be a fair summation of how our patients feel about our billing process. The patient signs for the accounts, we lodge them and the funds pay us directly and with no further documentation to sign or notification received from health funds after the procedure the whole process is generally summarily forgotten.
Decision making and involvement is a new criteria for this survey. It includes questions on the overall care received; providing information about my rights and responsibilities; information about my condition, procedure or treatment; information about my consent; information about the cost of procedure prior to admission and that financial consent was easy to understand and was helpful. The satisfaction rating achieved was 92.98%. Improvements in future surveys will be the aim.
The discharge process rating has been incorporated into this survey where in the past it was a separate survey. This change was welcomed by patients who had undertaken both surveys in the past. The result in 2013 was 95.04% which is quite an improvement from 2012 where the satisfaction rating was 73.92%. There has not been any significant change to the discharge policy or procedures at the DEC and perhaps the merging of the two surveys has been a contributing factor.
The satisfaction with transfer for 2013 was 95.35% compared to 80% in 2012. Again there has been no change in the procedures and policies for transfer from the DEC.
The overall satisfaction response was 94.17%. This is lower than previously achieved (98.09%) and has been attributed to the change in survey itself. All other surveyed areas showed improvement (some very significant improvement) and the overall response does not reflect this. The comments received from patients in the survey were overwhelming and reinforce what our patients tell us every day. The DEC experiences an average return rate of patients of approximately 65% per annum providing us with further reassurance that our services are needed and fulfil the needs of our patients.
Summary 2012 – 2013 Patient Satisfaction Survey for QPS Benchmarking Graph
There was a marked reduction in wind pain from 44 respondents (68.12% of overall patients reporting post procedure reactions) to only 22 in this survey (14.9%) as a direct result from introducing CO2 into theatres. This is due to the CO2 being absorbed by the body as opposed to the air which was previous pumped into the stomach which has to be expelled.The DEC uses the valuable feedback provided to us to evaluate our services and the way we deliver services to our patients, referral base and for staff training purposes. We encourage all our patients to provide feedback to us either via one of our two patient satisfaction surveys conducted annually or through communication with our staff, completion of patient feedback forms in recovery or in reception, use of our website, via email or by passing comments (constructive or compliments) to their treating doctors at the DEC. Our preference is to have respondents identify themselves so we can respond to them personally if they request us to but are happy to receive anonymous feedback as well.