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Patient voice drives improvement in Australian hospitals

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The experiences of private patients across Australia are helping hospitals and health funds improve services like never before, following the launch of the groundbreaking patient survey tool, Voice of the Patient.

Developed by the Australian Health Service Alliance (AHSA) and Insight Actuaries, the Voice of the Patient is the first integrated patient survey tool in Australia designed to give privately insured patients a say in their healthcare journey.

It gathers responses from thousands of private patients across the country and from hundreds of hospital settings to provide valuable insight into the operation and performance of our system.

Launching the Voice of the Patient after three years of data collection and independent analysis, AHSA CEO Andrew Sando said the platform will ensure patient perspectives sit at the centre of care, strengthening hospital transparency and contributing to better outcomes.

“The Voice of the Patient creates an independent framework that enables a healthcare system – hospitals, practitioners, patients and health funds– that is constantly learning, developing and improving to benefit practitioners and patients alike,” said Sando.

“It ensures the patient’s views, experience and outcome objectives remain a fundamental element of every healthcare journey, through all settings and stages.”

The Voice of the Patient collects data from patients via validated measurement tools. Patient reported experience measures (PREMs) examine perceptions of experience with health services, while outcome measures (PROMs) assess perspectives on illness or care and the impact on well-being.

Patient-reported data is now recognised as a crucial element of successful, value-driven health systems and is being rapidly adopted from the US to Europe, to Africa and Asia.

Patient-reported data consistently leads to health service improvement, fewer adverse events and shorter hospital stays, contributing to markedly lower costs, better outcomes and experiences for patients.

“An increasing number of similar initiatives are coming out every single year across the globe, and it is expected that patient perspectives will form the foundation of future, valuedriven and successful health systems,” Sando said.

Over the last 12 months, 45,000 patients have taken part in Voice of the Patient, making it one of the largest private patient-reported databases in Australia and giving it unrivalled insight into health system performance. The Voice of the Patient has achieved a 45% response rate and covers hundreds of individual hospitals across Australia.

Sando said private hospital operators across Australia have backed Voice of the Patient as a valuable tool to help monitor and maintain the highest quality standards of care.

“We provide aggregate data to private hospitals and day surgeries, helping them to assess themselves against the performance of the system. Over the past three years, they have shown overwhelming support for the tool as a key development resource – helping Australia’s private sector maintain that world-class status.”

Insight Actuaries CEO Daniel Erasmus said accurate patient-reported experiences and outcomes help address systemic issues for healthcare quality and safety.

“Tools such as the Voice of the Patient help to identify logjams, bottlenecks or oversights in the system, improving coordination of care and communication across settings,” said Erasmus.

“As the caretakers of the patient experience, and those at the forefront of rising demand for health services, it’s encouraging to see Australia’s hospital operators get behind groundbreaking PREMs and PROMs initiatives to improve person-centred care.”

Download the Voice of the Patient infographic to find out more.

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