In a time when commissioners and planners of health care are focusing on patient choice, and patient reported feedback, physiotherapy services need to be in tune with, and responsive to current opinion of their services. One way to be responsive to patient feedback is to utilise the Patient Opinion website to your advantage.
Particularly in England, commissioners are also looking at how services are being promoted to patients and referrers. You can easily improve your visibility to these groups by taking up the free opportunity to promote your service via Choose and Book, and NHS Choices.
Patient Opinion (UK wide service)
The Patient Opinion website is a not-for-profit, 'Trip Advisor' style resource which allows patients to leave positive and negative comments about the healthcare services they have received. Patients can search the website and leave comments for free.
If your service is registered with the site, you can have a 'right of reply', so if a bad experience is reported by a patient, your service can investigate and communicate back via the site the steps you have taken to improve on this for the future. This not only highlights to patients that you listen, but shows commissioners and planners that you learn from negative experiences and use patient feedback to improve the service.
Any healthcare organisation in the UK can register with the site (for free) to have a 'right to reply' (the free registration service gives a limited number of passwords for uploading responses to patient comments, so the actual uploading may have to be channeled through certain people in your organisation). There is also a fee-based subscription service available that gives an organisation unlimited staff login access to upload comments.
What do I need to do to work the 'Patient Opinion' website to my advantage?
- Find out if your employer is already registered with the site. If yes, ask if your service can have devolved 'right to reply' rights, or whether you need to send your comments to be unloaded to the person registered by your employer with Patient Opinion: www.patientopinion.org.uk/info/professionals
- If no one from your organisation is registered with the website, ask for this to happen so you can have a 'right of reply'.
- Allocate a member of your team to be in charge of patient reported feedback, and give them time to search the Patient Opinion website to highlight both positive and negative experiences of your service.
- Use positive quotes from your patients in communications with management and commissioners/planners.
- Investigate negative experiences, and then tell the users of the Patient Opinion website (via your right to reply) what your investigation led to (eg, a service improvement).
Choose and Book (NHS England commissioned services)
Choose and Book is the NHS England electronic referral service, which allows any NHS commissioned service to advertise their services to referrers, and gives patients a choice of place, date and time for their first appointment.
Choose and Book keeps GPs and other referrers up to date and aware of NHS commissioned services whether delivered by primary, secondary, independent or social care on a local, regional or national basis through its Directory of Services function. Commissioners will be looking at how services are being promoted to referrers and the public via Choose and Book, as part of their commitment to offering patient choice. However at this time very few physiotherapy services have taken up this opportunity.
What do I need to do to get my service onto Choose and Book?
- Think through how Choose and Book may assist you to add value for patients and the service; there is much guidance on this topic on the Choose and Book website at: www.chooseandbook.nhs.uk/staff/gettingmore
- Read the AHP frequently asked questions about setting your service up on Choose and Book, and the Physiotherapy case study.
- Once you are clear of what you want to achieve, speak to the Choose and Book lead in your organisation to discuss getting your service onto the system. Ensure they give you the time, support and training to do this - planning is key to a successful launch/implementation.
- Look at the CSP webpage on Choose and Book for an explanation of how clinic types and the SNOMED CT physiotherapy subset helps you to guide referrers to make appropriate referrals to your service.
- Join the CSP 'Clinical Information Network' iCSP network to hear about Choose and Book latest developments, and to discuss with peers any issues you have with Choose and Book.
- Sign up for the Choose and Book newsletter which keeps you informed of developments with the service.
NHS Choices (NHS England)
NHS Choices is the public face of the NHS in England on the web. NHS Choices has a Health Services near you function that allows patients to search for services in their locality, and to read more about what a service has to offer. Commissioners expect to see accessible quality information about individual services on NHS Choices. However at this time very few physiotherapy services are actually listed.
What do I need to do to get my service on NHS Choices?
- Contact your employer's NHS Choices Service Administrator to ask for your service to be listed on the site. The administrator can either upload the information for you, or give you devolved rights to input the information directly.
- If you do not know who your employer's NHS Choices Service Administrator is, then email the NHS Choices service desk explaining that you want to get your service details onto NHS Choices, and you need to know who your local service administrator is.
- The 'Health Services near you' functionality also allows patients to leave comments about the service received (so again you need to allocate a member of staff to monitor patient feedback on NHS Choices).
Many Trusts and services already have their own systems for monitoring the quality of the patient experience. If you don't yet have one the 'CARE' measure (developed by Dr Stewart Mercer) is widely used and recommended.
It is based on a broad definition of empathy in context of a therapeutic relationship within the consultation. The wording reflects a holistic, patient-centred approach. The CARE measure can be downloaded and used free of charge.
The Intellectual Property rights rest with the Scottish Executive. The measure may not be used on a commercial basis.
Full details: www.gla.ac.uk