Online patient feedback as a measure of quality in primary care: a multimethod study using correlation and qualitative analysis
Boylan AM., Turk A., van Velthoven MH., Powell J.
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ. OBJECTIVES: To ascertain the relationship between online patient feedback and the General Practice Patient Survey (GPPS) and the Friends and Family Test (FFT). To consider the potential benefit it may add by describing the content of public reviews found on NHS Choices for all general practices in one Clinical Commissioning Group in England. DESIGN: Multimethod study using correlation and thematic analysis. SETTING: 1396 public online reviews and ratings on NHS Choices for all General Practices (n=70) in Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group in England. RESULTS: Significant moderate correlations were found between the online patient feedback and the GPPS and the FFT. Three themes were developed through the qualitative analysis: (1) online feedback largely provides positive reinforcement for practice staff; (2) online feedback is used as a platform for suggesting service organisation and delivery improvements; (3) online feedback can be a source of insight into patients' expectations of care. These themes illustrate the wide range of topics commented on by patients, including their medical care, relationships with various members of staff, practice facilities, amenities and services in primary care settings. CONCLUSIONS: This multimethod study demonstrates that online feedback found on NHS Choices is significantly correlated with established measures of quality in primary care. This suggests it has a potential use in understanding patient experience and satisfaction, and a potential use in quality improvement and patient safety. The qualitative analysis shows that this form of feedback contains helpful information about patients' experiences of general practice that provide insight into issues of quality and patient safety relevant to primary care. Health providers should offer patients multiple ways of offering feedback, including online, and should have systems in place to respond to and act on this feedback.