Capturing the Patient Voice

Ask Not “What Is the Matter with You” But “What Matters to You”

At the heart of the Patient Centred Medical Home is the quest to improve the patient’s experience of care. To do this we need to ask patients about their care. Patient Reported Experience Measures (PREMs) capture outcomes that matter to patients as well as the patient’s experience and perception of their health care (NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation).

Why is this important? Research shows us that there is much value of capturing and responding to patients’ experiences. For example:

  • According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (2015), patients with better care experiences often have better health outcomes. Further, good patient experiences are positively correlated with clinical effectiveness and safety measures (Doyle et al. 2013).
  • Patient experiences provide a more discriminating measure of a health service’s quality than questions about patient satisfaction (Russell, 2013).
  • According to Russell (2013), “healthcare practitioners may be experts about medical treatments, but patients are experts about their own lives. Patients clearly have the capacity to report on quality indicators that matter to them. This is the cornerstone of a patient-centred health care system, as opposed to a solely technically-centred system”.
  • Efforts to improve patient experience results in greater employee satisfaction, reducing staff turnover (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2015).

From a compliance perspective, capturing the patient experience provides proof of patient-centred practice which can be incorporated into a general practice’s accreditation evidence. Criterion 2.1.2 of the RACGP Standards for General Practices (4th Edition) requires evidence which demonstrates that the practice seeks and responds to patients’ feedback on their experience of the practice, and Criterion 3.1.1 requires proof that the practice participates in quality improvement activities.

The RACGP has information about the different ways patient experience can be captured. This information can be accessed here. Also, the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) provides resources to assist practices in collecting PREMs. These resources can be found here.

Would you like to get involved or find out more about the PCMH Program? Please email [email protected] or visit the website.



Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (July 2015) Why Improve Patient Experience: https://www.ahrq.gov

Doyle C, Lennox L, Bell D. (2013) A systematic review of evidence on the links between patient experience and clinical safety and effectiveness. BMJ Open 2013;3:e001570. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001570

NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation (n.d) About Patient Reported Measures. https://www.aci.health.nsw.gov.au/make-it-happen/prms/about-patient-reported-measures

Russell, S. (2013) Research Matters June 2013: www.research-matters.com.au