Wednesday 27 May 2009

Standardisation should be standard

As reported by the HSJ, "The Department of Health will not impose standards for “real time” measurement of patients’ experience, despite pressure to use results to help identify failing trusts.
Guidance will be published on the use of fast-turnaround feedback, which many hospital trusts are beginning to collect, in coming weeks.
But there will be no standard collection methods, questions or measures, meaning the results cannot be used for national benchmarking, performance management or patient choice."

Reasons this is the wrong decision:
1. Patients and carers want and need comparative data on experience to guide their decisions and enable informed choice.
2. Only comparative data allows organisations and individuals to see how well they are really doing - or not. Remember, the CEO at Mid -Staffs (and presumably his board and senior medical staff) thought all was well...
3. Great staff want to know how they are performing against their peers across the country - not just down the corridor.
4. Without national standardisation, experience data is close to useless - imagine we allowed infection rates to be reported with each hospital using their own measurement and no way to compare one with the other, or perhaps allowed every surgeon to decide her own scales for success and to report using their "My personal outcome score".
5. It allows mediocrity to hide, and fails to highlight the excellence that others can learn from.

Reasons this decision doesn't matter:
1. Patients and carers will find ways to compare: talking to each other, talking to doctors and nurses, using the internet to share and compare experience.
2. The very best Trusts are already developing ways to compare themselves with other great organisations - great leaders know that this is the only way to deliver excellence.
3. Local leadership and the devolved power of PCTs and Foundation Trusts ensures that organisations which understand quality, and which pay more than lip-service to "patient-centric care", will find ways to deliver comparative data because they understand that without it there is no true choice.
4. iWantGreatCare already allows patients and providers to collect, understand and use true, comparative data in the pursuit of excellent healthcare.

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