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Impact of Tracking Trends in Patients’ Hospital Experiences

Emmanuel Kumah


Background: Capturing patients’ experiences of care and using the results to improve service quality is one of the key approaches to building person-centered care in healthcare organizations. Studies have suggested that systematic gathering of patients’ feedback through surveys may lead to improvements in care experiences across health systems and within organizations. While trends in patient experience have been considered at the national level, there is little evidence of systematic analyses of long-term trends at the local or organizational level.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether an upward trend in patients’ reported positive experiences could be established in organizations that have a long history of surveying their patients.

Methods: The study was a 12-year (2004-2015) trend analysis of overall experience scores reported by patients in three English hospital trusts: Oxford University Hospitals, University College London Hospitals and Central Manchester University Hospitals.

Results: The analysis could not establish an upward trend in patients’ overall reported experiences of care over the 12 years. Whereas scores for both Oxford University and University College London Hospital Trusts were non-linear and more erratic, scores for Central Manchester University Hospitals Trust showed a downward trend, with no statistically significant year-on-year changes in scores.

Discussion: The observation is consistent with the suggestion that healthcare organizations may not be fully using patient experience data to inform quality improvement. The present study also contrasts national level longitudinal studies, which have shown small improvements in patient reported experiences of care.

Conclusion: More policy-level actions and effective organizational leadership are required for the goal of promoting person-centered care through care experiences to be fully realized.



Person-centered medicine, patient-centered care, patient experience, trend, healthcare organization, hospital, quality improvement

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