Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust

When you’re an essential provider of healthcare services, continually striving to drive-up standards of patient care, patient feedback is critical.

When you’re an essential provider of healthcare services, continually striving to drive-up standards of patient care, patient feedback is critical to enabling you to identify areas for improvement. Consequently, the volume and quality of feedback a healthcare trust is able to gather has a significant bearing on its performance and what it’s able to achieve.

SmartSurvey has transformed the way Oxleas is able to collect and use feedback through its powerful survey software, system integrations and SMS functionality, enabling surveys to be instantaneously sent to a patient’s mobile following the completion of an appointment or visit. With the ability to collect feedback at the point of experience, Oxleas has experienced a 600% jump in patient engagement levels and survey response rates, which has been hugely valuable to the improvements and efficiencies that the health trust has been able to generate.

The requirement

Having previously relied on a time consuming and inefficient paper-based survey process, the Oxleas Patient Experience team were becoming increasingly frustrated by the quality and limited quantity of feedback collected, which was hampering the amount of positive change they could make to improve patient experience.

With such a wide range of services to deliver through its centers, departments, wards and teams, which extend from south east London to parts of Kent, the ability to collect, analyze and act quickly on patient feedback is critical in helping Oxleas to maintain and further improve levels of care.

The Patient Experience team quickly concluded they needed to find a more effective way of increasing their survey response rates, if they were to generate a higher volume and quality of feedback, drive more internal efficiencies and deliver further improvements in patient experience and care across all their services.

It’s a point echoed by Oxleas’ Senior Patient Experience Coordinator, Aisha Abdullah, who was tasked with improving these response rates:

“Increasing our feedback response rates was paramount, because at the time they were nowhere near the targets we wanted to achieve. But we also needed to find a better way of tracking exactly where every response came from, to enable us to take positive actions and make the changes we needed to, whether that was at a specific site or within a particular department or team. It was a frustrating time because we knew we could be operating so much better with the right tools.”

It was evident that a new survey solution was required that could provide the team with the performance, functionality, and support needed to achieve their goals. High on their list of priorities was a survey platform that would be simple to use and provide the capabilities that would allow them to engage patients at the point of experience. This meant they had to find a solution that had distribution channels that were fast and relevant.

Given the sensitivities around patient data, it was also critical that any solution could meet their security requirements including the need to adhere to compliance such as GDPR and the NHS Data Security and Protection Toolkit, which would help to ensure high standards of data security and protection were upheld.

The solution

Having looked at a number of different survey providers, it quickly became clear to the Oxleas team that SmartSurvey could provide the performance and functionality, they needed and the required technical support to integrate with their internal systems, which would be crucial if they were to maximize patient engagement and ramp up response rates.

Another key factor was that SmartSurvey met all Oxleas IT, security and data protection requirements, due to its ISO 27001 and Cyber Essentials Plus accreditations, compliance with GDPR and the Data Security and Protection Toolkit and being one of the very few survey providers that could offer them a 100% UK based team with UK data storage and back-ups. The latter being an essential requirement for any NHS or other healthcare organization, as it negates any risk of their data leaving the UK, which is a critical requirement when you’re handling sensitive patient data.

Having secured the contract SmartSurvey immediately set about helping to improve Oxleas’ feedback processes. Leveraging the platform’s APIs, SmartSurvey assisted with re-creating surveys, integrating the health trust’s RIO electronic patient records system and setting up email and SMS survey invites that would be automatically triggered based on actions such as a patient being discharged.

This gave Oxleas a seamless feedback collection system, that would immediately send a survey to a patient’s mobile encouraging them to leave their thoughts at the point of experience. If a patient didn’t respond within a specified timeframe, it would also automatically trigger a text reminder. It was a development, which offered exciting results for the patient experience team.

“We initially decided to trial the system with around five or six teams that worked in service areas that had traditionally experienced our lowest survey response rates. The thinking was that if we could achieve a strong uptake for services where it had been previously hard to obtain feedback, the positive impact on response rates was likely to be even better if we rolled out the system to other service areas.”Aisha Abdullah, Senior Patient Experience Coordinator, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust

The results

The patient experience team quickly began to see great results from the initial trial, which culminated in a tenfold increase in the overall response rates. Compared to the previous manual method, the SmartSurvey solution has seen overall survey response rates improve from 2% for the trust’s generic patient experience survey to 14%, for its patient feedback survey about its remote appointments service, representing a 600% increase, which has had a huge impact.

The survey regarding patient experience of its remote consultations service, which was carried out as a result of the health trust having to move and deliver much of its care and treatment of patients remotely following the government restrictions imposed on 23rd March 2020, has been especially valuable. The volume and level of feedback detail obtained, not only enabled them to investigate patient feelings about the changes, but also examine their views about the level of care they received, their preferences about the technologies used including telephone, text messaging and video calling, and how amenable they would be to receiving future remote based appointments. Subsequently, it has enabled Oxleas to continue offering remote appointments and make ongoing improvements to the way they are delivered, which is also an area of wider interest to many other NHS trusts who are looking at the transition towards digital/remote patient appointments, as a way to support infection control.

“We’re absolutely delighted. It’s enabled us to reach our desired patient experience target for the first time too, which is amazing when you consider where we were and where we are now. Ultimately, it was also a smart move in terms of engagement, as nearly everybody does everything on their mobiles these days.”Aisha Abdullah, Senior Patient Experience Coordinator, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust

More generally, having more data to work with has made a significant impact to the amount of positive actions the Patient Experience team have been able to take. While previously response levels were often too low to be able to draw any meaningful conclusions from, with greater quantity and quality of feedback, the team are now able to make more data driven, and consistently meaningful decisions than ever before to improve patient experience at greater speed.

“In our work to further improve patient care and the patient experience, it’s important for us to keep moving forward. It’s nice to now have a survey platform in place that’s really helping us to drive positive change. I really feel it’s made us even better as an organization. In fact, so much so that a growing number of departments outside the patient experience team, have started to use the SmartSurvey platform too, after being impressed by what they’ve seen. As for our own team, we’re looking forward to exploring further ways in which we can use and benefit from the solution in the future.”Aisha Abdullah, Senior Patient Experience Coordinator, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust

Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust
Number of employees:
1001 - 5000


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