The project aimed to pilot the measurement of standard patient experience and outcome measures and to identify the resources utilised with the ability to undertake an economic evaluation for a statewide patient experience survey program in Queensland.
The study adopted the survey tool used by the Bureau of Health Information (BHI) New South Wales which comprised of questions from a range of organisations who provided permission to used their, two questions were excluded due to licensing.
In March 2018, the 77-question survey was mailed to a sample of patients with records of attending Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Redcliffe Hospital, The Prince Charles Hospital or Cairns Hospital. Participants were issued a reminder letter by mail after two weeks and final reminder after four weeks if their survey had not been returned.
Participant names were randomly selected from the Queensland Non-Admitted Patient Data Collection centralised database. There were 1145 surveys mailed from a pool of 8174 patients and all responses were entered into a database for analysis.
Prior to the first reminder letter being sent the response rate was 21.7%, increasing to 37.6%. Following the second and final reminder the response rate increased to 54.8% (n=628), with responses closing two months after the initial invitation.
The survey completion rate for each of the 77 questions varied from 85% to 99%.
The structure of the survey included instructions select one or multiple checkboxes or to skip questions not relevant to the participant’s attendance. Utilising instructions and skip logic resulted in 65.9% (unadjusted, n=414) of responses being non-compliant with one or more of the survey questions (e.g. selecting multiple responses when directed to select only one response).
Paper surveys are favourable with participants, and the methodology could be scaled up to a statewide program provided the funding and resources were allocated. The mail out approach and subsequent manual entry of responses was resource intensive and may provide to cost prohibitive of a larger scale.
The high non-compliance with survey instructions could be addressed by utilising a different collection approach such as Computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) or the introduction of an electronic survey program which would require the routine collection of email address and/or mobile phone numbers.