Patient voice aims to drive improvements for Australian hospitals and health funds

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A new patient-focused platform has been launched with the aim of using their experience to improve the services provided by private hospitals and private health funds.

The 'Voice of the Patient' has been developed by the Australian Health Service Alliance (AHSA) and Insight Actuaries.

It is a patient survey tool designed to give privately insured patients a say in their healthcare experience. It gathers responses from private patients across Australia and from hundreds of hospital settings to provide insight into the operation and performance of the system.

Launching the platform after three years of data collection and analysis, AHSA CEO Andrew Sando said it would ensure patient perspectives sit at the centre of care, strengthening hospital transparency and contributing to better outcomes.

“The Voice of the Patient creates an independent framework that enables a healthcare system – hospitals, practitioners, patients and health funds - that is constantly learning, developing and improving to benefit practitioners and patients alike,” said Mr Sando.

“It ensures the patient's views, experience and outcome objectives remain a fundamental element of every healthcare journey, through all settings and stages.”

The Voice of the Patient collects data from patients via measurement tools. Patient-reported experience measures (PREMs) examine perceptions of experience with health services, while outcome measures (PROMs) assess perspectives on illness or care and the impact on well-being.

“An increasing number of similar initiatives are coming out every single year across the globe, and it is expected that patient perspectives will form the foundation of future, value-driven and successful health systems,” continued Mr Sando.

Over the last 12 months, 45,000 patients have taken part in Voice of the Patient, making it one of Australia's largest private patient-reported databases and giving it unrivalled insight into health system performance. The Voice of the Patient has achieved a 45 per cent response rate and covers hundreds of individual hospitals across Australia.

Mr Sando said private hospital operators across Australia have backed the Voice of the Patient as a valuable tool to help monitor and maintain the highest quality standards of care.

“We provide aggregate data to private hospitals and day surgeries, helping them to assess themselves against the performance of the system. Over the past three years, they have shown overwhelming support for the tool as a key development resource – helping Australia’s private sector maintain that world-class status,” he said.

Daniel Erasmus, the CEO of Insight Actuaries, said accurate patient-reported experiences and outcomes help address systemic issues for healthcare quality and safety.

“Tools such as the Voice of the Patient help to identify logjams, bottlenecks or oversights in the system, improving coordination of care and communication across settings,” said Mr Erasmus.

“As the caretakers of the patient experience, and those at the forefront of rising demand for health services, it’s encouraging to see Australia’s hospital operators get behind groundbreaking PREMs and PROMs initiatives to improve person-centred care.”