How has the experience of patients and carers been measured in healthcare? What are the pros and cons of different approaches for measuring improvement over time?

This evidence scan provides an accessible overview of the range of methods that have been used to measure patient experience, in order to help practitioners, planners and researchers consider the best approaches for their own local improvement initiatives. However, the focus is on compiling broad themes from the literature, not providing summaries of individual studies or tools.

It is not possible to suggest that a certain approach or a particular tool is most effective for measuring people’s experience, but the evidence suggests 10 things that need to be considered when planning how to measure changes in patient and carer experience over time.

  1. Consider how patient experience is being defined to inform exactly what needs to be measured.
  2. Think about why patient experience is being measured and how the information will be used.
  3. Assess whether it would be useful to combine approaches so that both qualitative and more quantitative material is collected.
  4. Consider whether to ask everyone using the services or only a sample to provide feedback.
  5. Think about whether the best time to collect feedback is immediately after using the services, when experiences are fresh in people’s minds.
  6. Allocate enough time at the outset to plan and test measurement methods, particularly if these will be used for many years to monitor change over time.
  7. Think about how the end-result needs to be presented for various audiences as this may shape how data are collected. Potential outputs include statistical averages, in-depth quotes or graphs.
  8. Make sure that there is appropriate infrastructure at an organisational level to analyse and use patient experience information.
  9. Make sure that patients, carers, managers and health professionals are all comfortable with why feedback is being collected and how it will be used. Staff need to be on board as well as patients.
  10. Ensure that patient experience measures are seen as one component of a broader framework of measurement and that all of the approaches work well together, without excessive burden for either staff or patients.


Davina Bradley


My hip replacement went wrong
I have an infected hip
It exudes infection
It is like a dripping tap

I am waiting for my operation
I was told infection can not be left for long
I have been waiting for six months now
I was told it would happen November 2015
It did not
Still infection leaks from my hip like a dripping tap.

It was going to happen Dec 2015
It did not
My life is on hold, I gave up my job.
My hair falls out, my body is under stress.
Still infection leaks from my hip like a dripping tap

It was going to happen January 28th 2016
It did not
At the hospital
In my gown
Waiting to go to theatre
Three hours later
Sorry no critical care bed
Surgeon and team ready
Empty unused theatre
No bed for me
I cried
I was angry
Still infection leaks from my hip like a dripping tap.

Nurses gave tea and sympathy
A look of despair in their eyes
They fought to try and find me that bed
Its a hopeless situation
Still infection leaks from my hip like a dripping tap.

I have another date 4 Feb 2016
Nurse says “keep your fingers crossed"
Its all down to luck on the day

A major trauma centre
But just12 critical care beds !
Obviously not enough
Its a battle to get one

They will put up a fight for me
The situation is dire

Will it happen ?
Lets see
The emotional and physical impact is immense,
Still infection leaks from my hip like a dripping tap.

barbara nobbs

My cataract operation was cancelled 3 times. I do not think it has been totally successful as apparently I still have a shadow caused by scar damage from the shingles which caused the original damage. I was given maxidex drops which possibly caused the cataract damage. I do not complain about my treatment at the Horton, everyone there is very pleasant and helpful, but I do not understand why I was given a harmful drug for a year, enough to damage my eyesight. There does not seem to be thoughtful contact between doctors, as after the operation I was told to use Maxidex 4 x daily, and this has built pressure in my eye. Should I have thought myself to change this treatment.
If I still had private health insurance, I might have had my heart valve mended and successful treatment for my arthritis. I still have nerve pain in my head for the shingles, but was denied botox as this would be too expensive.
I have recently someone speaking about the NHS saying that Britain spends the lease on health, particularly how more money and expertise would help in the 6000 child deaths each year. At present I am interested in how more money and knowledge would help my generation. It seems to me that we have to help ourselves and although at present I have enough brain power to think and keep track for myself, what happens to those who do not.
It seems to me that the NHS is poorly led and managed and funded. Although staff mean well, financial restraints must make things very difficult for them, and frustrating for patients denied treatment. All of my generation have paid their taxes for years, I worked for nearly 60 years until I was 70, without avoiding PAYE. Are we relegated to second class patients as we no longer contribute so much financially? Who takes up this protest on our behalf?
Incidentally it was not easy to find this place to comment.

Bradley Roberts

My wife had a cataract operation five years ago, and was told she would have the second one in six weeks...since then, despite being told that she needed a cataract operation on her other eye by various specialists, it has been impossible to get this done. Every time she has managed to get an appointment at Diana Princess of Wales Hospital, Grimsby, they go over the same ground, once told her her file had been lost when she complained about the delay and non-appointments and lack of treatment, and earlier this year actually got an appointment, to be given only a peripheral vision test, carried out by a technician, despite having one two weeks earlier. No consultation with an opthalmologist. Any complaints are ignored. All my wife wants is her second cataract operation promised five years ago. The opthalmic department and its medical staff are, to my mind, not fit for purpose. The treatment of my wife has been appalling and totally unacceptable.

Add new comment

* indicates a required field

Your email address will not be published on the site and will only be used if we need to contact you about your comment.

View our comments policy