Cancer patients use smartphones to provide feedback on their care experience

Australian Digital Health Agency

Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) and digital health company The Clinician, have successfully completed an Australian Digital Health Agency pilot project that enabled cancer patients to use their smartphones to provide feedback on the quality of care they received.

Acting Executive Director of Nursing at PAH, Leanne Stone, said this was an important project for the hospital as a cancer diagnosis was confronting enough for the patient, who are often inundated with multiple forms and documents both prior to and during their treatment.

“As clinicians, we can be focused on treating the symptoms that our patients are facing and this project has reinforced the importance for us of also focusing on our patients ‘ experiences when being cared for, which in turn can lead to better quality care, improved health outcomes and more accessible and effective health services,” Ms Stone said.

Amanda Cattermole, CEO of the Australian Digital Health Agency, said “PAH in partnership with The Clinician were funded by the Australian Digital Health Agency to develop a digital solution to improve the patient experience and the quality of patient-sourced health data for their healthcare providers.”

“This project is one of a series of digital health initiatives the Agency has supported to foster emerging technologies and the use of data in patient care.”

The PAH project was designed to improve care quality and safety for cancer patients by providing clinicians with actionable patient experience insights. This involved the electronic distribution of a newly developed patient-reported experience – cancer (PRE-C) questionnaire to all patients receiving cancer services at the hospital.

These types of patient experience questionnaires, called patient-reported experience measures (PREMs), are validated assessments that quantify whether healthcare services meet the needs of patients.

“There is compelling evidence to show that by incorporating this patient input into routine practice, coupled with timely response to this feedback, the quality and safety of care delivered are improved,” Ms Stone added.

“The technical solution, powered by The Clinician’s digital health platform, ZEDOC, develops actionable patient-reported experience insights for driving service quality improvements.”

The Clinician’s Chief Health Information Officer, Dr Koray Atalag said “This digital health project had the most ambitious interoperability and integration goals I have encountered in my 20 years of professional career in this area so far.”

“The scope of health information exchange included full integration with the state-wide deployed Patient Administration System (PAS), Hospital Based Corporate Information System (HBCIS) and electronic medical record system (ieMR) as well as My Health Record.”

“As a dedicated digital solution for capturing, analysing, and reporting patient-generated health data, ZEDOC enabled the project team to create intelligent prompts notifying the hospital team of patient perspectives requiring action. Automating the delivery of these prompts through email/SMS/push notifications and allowing hospital staff to rate the appropriateness of the prompts led to continual improvement of the system.”

“The results of the project were extremely positive, demonstrating the validity and feasibility of collecting the new cancer specific questionnaire to drive service improvement. Patient feedback was positive with individuals typically preferring to use their smartphones for the assessment and most being able to complete the PREM within 10 minutes. The feedback from providers was equally positive, who found that the ZEDOC platform enabled a completely streamlined patient experience feedback process yielding very high response rates – almost 100 per cent with the inclusion of in-clinic administration of PRE-C.”

Ms Stone said that initial learnings from this test bed project and others around the globe provide the evidence to put patient perspectives at the front and centre of care delivery to further bolster quality and safety improvement initiatives – at scale.

“The successful deployment of the project has proven the feasibility and transferability of patient generated health data collection across the Australian healthcare system,” Ms Stone said.

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