Step 2.5 – Take AHPEQS to patients

Outcome: By completing Step 2.5, you will have decided the mode of administration of the survey and how you will present it to patients, as well as what you might need to do to accommodate the needs of different patient groups.

Things to consider

This page lists the items that need to be considered in Step 2.5 to administer AHPEQS to patients.

Formats – options and influences on choice of option

AHPEQS was tested in three formats: online, pen and paper, and computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI). In deciding which of these to use, you will need to consider:

  • Patient demographics (for example, are your patients mainly older people who may find pen and paper more useable than online)
  • Resource capacity (for example, do you have the IT resources to conduct online surveys, do you have staff available for data entry of pen and paper responses).

You may find that you will need to implement a combination of formats, particularly if you have a wide range of patients – some may prefer online, some may prefer pen and paper. Also, even if you implement an online or CATI survey, you may need to provide other options as a back-up.

You also need to consider whether you will need external resources to conduct (or help conduct) the survey. External companies can conduct the entire AHPEQS process from survey to reporting, or can just provide one part of the process.

Meeting patient needs

You will need to decide how to capture the experiences of patients with special needs. Consider (and if necessary test) appropriate modes and/or formats for the survey for:

  • Patients with sensory or cognitive impairment (for example, CATI, proxy respondent)
  • Patients who cannot read (for example, pictorial or audio version, CATI)
  • Non-English speakers
  • Culturally diverse populations who may understand health, illness and health services in a different way.

Communicating with patients

If you are to receive adequate numbers of responses to AHPEQS, you need to ensure that patients are engaged with the process. Communication is the key.

Start early during the patient journey. For example, the patient can be first told about the survey while they are in hospital, so that approaches once they are discharged do not come as a surprise. 

Make sure the materials you provide focus on the survey as a way to improve the quality of care. Ensure they are clear, attractive and written in plain English. You will need to consider:

  • In-hospital promotion such as posters
  • Cover letter or email
  • A patient-facing title for the survey (making it clear what the survey is for) 
  • Brief introductory text within the survey 
  • Instructions for survey completion.

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