Step 2.3 – Decide frequency and timing of survey

Outcome: By completing Step 2.3, you will have a plan for how often you will administer surveys to your sample or population of patients, and when you will administer the survey in relation to each person’s discharge. These timing decisions will need to support your objectives for using AHPEQS. For example, if you plan to report to your board or other regular meetings, your reporting cycle will affect your surveying and analysis cycle.

Things to consider

This page lists the items that need to be considered in Step 2.3 to decide on the frequency and timing of the survey.

Whatever timing you choose for your survey administration, the key is applying this consistently.

Options for timing of administration

There are several options for the timing of the survey:

  • Option 1 – rolling (continuous) administration triggered by discharge (captures all eligible discharges); administration date is determined by elapsed time since the individual’s discharge
  • Option 2 – periodic administration at regular intervals (captures all eligible discharges since last administration); administration date is determined by date of previous administration
  • Option 3 – periodic cross-sectional administration (captures eligible discharges only from a certain time period rather than all eligible discharges).

Options for timing in relation to each patient’s discharge

There are several options for the timing of the survey in relation to patient discharge:

  • Option 1 – immediately before discharge
    The advantages of this option are that you can use consumer liaison workers or volunteers to administer the survey in person using a tablet device (Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing, or CAPI), which may increase response rates. This option has to be done while the person is waiting to leave, to prevent any fear of it affecting their care. The disadvantage of this option is that the discharge experience will not be reflected in responses, it is labour intensive, and there may be a risk of interviewer effects and social desirability bias in the results.
  • Option 2 – 24–48 hours after discharge
    The advantages of this option are that the patient’s experience is fresh so it may increase response rates; recall bias may be reduced and there is less risk of the patient confusing this experience with a different one. The disadvantage of this option is that the person may still be too ill to feel like responding. For most types of health services, early surveys tend to get more negative responses than more delayed surveys.
  • Option 3 – within a week, fortnight or month of discharge
    The advantages of this option are that the patient will likely be less affected by physical pain or discomfort and may have a more realistic reflection on their experience; reflections on discharge and follow-up can also be captured. The disadvantage of this option is that the patient is more likely to confuse this experience with others, especially if asked more than a fortnight after discharge; this may increase recall bias.

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