New tool to drive improvements for hospitals, patients


Wednesday, 25 October, 2023

New tool to drive improvements for hospitals, patients

The Australian Health Service Alliance (AHSA) and Insight Actuaries have launched Voice of the Patient, an integrated patient survey tool designed to give privately insured patients a say in their healthcare journey.

The tool 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 the Australian healthcare system.

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

PREMs and PROMs

Over the last 12 months, 45,000 patients have already taken part in Voice of the Patient — which makes it one of the largest private patient-reported databases in Australia, according to Insight Actuaries and the AHSA. Voice of the Patient has achieved a 45% response rate and covers hundreds of individual hospitals across Australia.

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 wellbeing.

Patient-reported data is now recognised as a crucial element of successful, value-driven health systems, and is being rapidly adopted from the US and Europe, to Africa and Asia. It is said to consistently lead to health service improvement, fewer adverse events and shorter hospital stays, contributing to markedly lower costs, better outcomes and experiences for patients.

An independent framework

“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,” Sando said.

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

“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 value-driven and successful health systems,” 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, according to Sando.

“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.”

Indentifying bottlenecks, improving outcomes

Daniel Erasmus, CEO of Insight Actuaries, 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,” Erasmus said.

“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.”

Image credit: iStockphoto.com/pepifoto

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