Case Study: Eastern Health

Eastern Health in Victoria actively promote and interact with Patient Opinion. We spoke to Gayle Smith to find out more about their experiences.

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What is your role within Eastern Health?

I am the Executive Director of Quality, Planning and Innovation and have the responsibility of our Patient Experience of Care program.  

How are you currently using Patient Opinion?

We are using Patient Opinion as one of the ways in which patients can give us feedback about their experiences here at Eastern Health. Whilst patients can also provide written feedback or call us we find that using Patient Opinion is a great option for people to give immediate feedback quickly and easily.

What has been involved in using Patient Opinion? Has it involved a lot of work?

At Eastern Health we are very interested in hearing what patients and their families have to say.  Specifically in relations to Patient Opinion we have actively promoted the platform to our patients and their families. We have information brochures and posters on the wards and in public areas and we have encouraged staff to tell patients and their families about Patient Opinion and how they can access it. We also have a link to Patient Opinion on our feedback webpage so that anyone who wants to use it can have direct access to the website very easily.

Have other staff members been involved in this?

There were a few people involved in setting up Patient Opinion. Our CEO at the time, Mr Alan Lilly, was very committed to having it in place and we worked together to make sure it was fully implemented and working effectively.

How do you make sure patients at the clinics know they can leave feedback?

We actively promote Patient Opinion to our patients and their families and make sure that they know their feedback is welcome.

Do you think using Patient Opinion has had an impact on Eastern Health? For both the staff and patients?

Patient Opinion has been a great way for us to hear the voice of our patients and their families. Whilst we have many ways for patients to provide feedback, Patient Opinion seems to suit a lot of people as it is electronic, quick and easy to access. We know that our hard working staff do a great job most of the time and they really appreciate it when patients take the time to tell them that. We also know that we don’t always get it right and we are keen to hear from patients when this happens so we can make sure it doesn’t happen again.

How have you found having the Patient Opinion Widget accessible through your website? Why do you think it was important that you did this?

The Patient Opinion widget has been very successful. It provides a direct link to patients and their families and it is also an important way to promote one of the ways patients can provide their feedback to us.

Eastern Health always responds to feedback very quickly. What drives you to be so responsive?

We have set an internal target of responding to all Patient Opinion feedback within 24 hours. When we first started Patient Opinion our CEO Alan Lilly wanted to respond to all posts and he was committed to doing so within 24 hours. We have all agreed that it is important to respond in a timely way as anyone that takes the time to write to us should hear back quickly.

Have you had any critical feedback? If so, how have you handled it?

We have had critical feedback posted on Patient Opinion. We know that unfortunately we don’t always get it right and we are keen first of all to apologise to patients and their families when this has happened. We also see if there is anything we can do to rectify the situation and make sure that we learn for it and prevent it from happening again. When we have critical feedback we also offer contact details so that the patient can make direct contact with us. If we need to we will also arrange for medical staff to meet with patients and their families, either to provide more information or any follow up if that is required.

What have you learnt from using Patient Opinion and what would you say to other health services considering subscribing?

We have been reminded of how important it is to hear what our patients have to say and to acknowledge and really listen to their story. We enjoy the times when we receive positive feedback and we make sure we learn from any critical feedback. I would absolutely encourage other health services to subscribe to Patient Opinion. It is a great application of technology and brings us much closer to hearing the patient’s voice.