The Change Foundation, an independent policy think tank interested in health system debate, practice and experience in Ontario, has produced a review of patient and provider surveys of experiences with the health care system. The review looked at 24 surveys of health system experiences either based in Ontario, or with a presence in Ontario.
A key finding of the review was that existing surveys provide only a partial picture. The surveys tend to focus on the patient experience within an organization, but individual experience of continuity of care, navigation across different providers and transitions between organizations are a relatively minor focus. The review also summarizes the findings of a dozen of the patient/caregiver surveys. Some observations from the surveys were that:
- Patient/caregiver satisfaction with communication and coordination seems to decline as individuals move from hospital to community.
- Patient/caregiver satisfaction with their experience depends on the particular needs of patients and the ability of the health care system to meet or respond to these needs — patients that have more complex needs appear to be less satisfied with their experience.
- Primary care physicians, and their ability to coordinate care and aid system navigation, are key to patient/caregiver satisfaction, yet patients tend to rate system navigation fairly low.
The review is part of the Change Foundation’s initiative to listen to and learn from the lived experience of individuals and caregivers who have moved around Ontario’s health system over time. The next step will be to get direct input from patients and caregivers to provide a more comprehensive picture of how they navigate the system.
See “Survey Review: A Scan of Existing and Planned Surveys of Patient/Client or Caregiver Experiences in Transitions across Care Providers in Ontario,” Change Foundation, Fall 2010, available at www.changefoundation.ca. See also the Change Foundation news story, “Read Our Survey Review about Patient/Caregiver Experience — And What We Make of the Findings,” December 16, 2010, available at www.changefoundation.ca.