Why the patient's voice is important

Good health care in hospitals and other healthcare services is not just about treating an illness. It is about making sure that the patient’s values, needs and concerns are valued at all stages of treatment and care. It is about making sure patients are cared for and feel safe and confident in the quality of their care.

We know that if patients have a good experience in hospital, their treatment is more likely to succeed and they are less likely to be readmitted or have complications.

Finding out about patients’ experiences can help hospitals and healthcare services to improve the care they provide.

Why have I been asked to do a patient experience survey

If you have recently stayed in a hospital or other healthcare service, you might be sent a survey to find out about your experiences during your stay. The survey might include the Australian Hospital Patient Experience Question Set (AHPEQS).

The hospital or healthcare service has sent you this survey because they want to know from patients what is working well or poorly in their services. As a patient, you can see signs of high or poor quality that may not be seen by staff. Communicating this unique perspective to healthcare workers and the people who run health service organisations is vital for them to understand how to make their services better and safer for patients. In fact, inquiries into poor care have found that patients and their carers often spot safety problems before anyone else, and need to be listened to when they raise concerns.

Who is asking me to do this survey

When you have been a patient in a hospital or other healthcare service, you may be asked after you have left, or just before you leave, to complete the AHPEQS survey. This request might be from the service or hospital or from a private health insurance fund. Hospitals and health insurers want to know about your experiences so that they can improve services.

The request might also be from the government. Your state or territory health department might conduct surveys to find out how hospitals in your area are performing.

How do I know the survey is genuine

If you have received a patient experience survey and suspect it might be a scam, there are a few things you can do:

  • If you have not had a recent experience (within the past few months) of the service the survey claims to be asking about, do not respond to the survey
  • Genuine patient experience surveys will never ask you for financial information or for details about your medical condition or treatments
  • If you are worried, contact the hospital, health service, government or health insurance fund which is named on the survey, to ask if they have in fact sent a survey to you. 

Why should I fill out the survey

Your observations and experiences will help to improve how your healthcare service takes care of patients. The survey only takes a small amount of time but it can have a big impact on improving health care for you, your family and loved ones, and everyone in the community.

Most Australians will need hospital or health care at some time during their lives. Patients’ experience of care should be the best that the hospital or service can provide. Research shows that good experiences in hospital can actually help patients to have better health outcomes from their treatment.

Your feedback ensures that patients’ voices are heard. It is important that hospitals understand what ‘good care’ means to patients and exactly what patients experience during their care. By asking patients about their experience, hospitals and healthcare services can find out what improvements they need to make. This will mean that the care they provide in the future is what patients want and need.

Are there other ways of providing feedback

The survey is just one way of providing positive or negative feedback about your experiences in a hospital or healthcare service.

You can contact the service or hospital directly. Hospitals and healthcare services generally have someone who receives and acts on patient feedback (for example, a consumer liaison officer, safety and quality officer, or complaints officer).

You can also contact other organisations, such as your local consumer association, state or territory healthcare complaints commission or health ombudsman, or the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.