Patient stories are a raw and compelling new kind of online feedback. They can prompt rapid improvements in services – if the NHS is willing to embrace them | The Guardian Healthcare Network
People have always shared their experiences of healthcare, usually privately, with family, neighbours or workmates. But online, patients and carers are increasingly willing to share accounts of their health service encounters with the wider world, often in intimate detail. There are websites devoted to collecting and publicising patient ratings and reviews of healthcare professionals, services, diagnoses and treatments.
The stories of patients and carers are becoming an unavoidable part of modern healthcare. In the US, people searching online for information about local services are more likely to read patient comments than official clinical outcome measures or patient experience metrics. In the UK, staff routinely read online patient feedback and share it on social media. NHS regulators have even started to think in terms of monitoring and analysing patient stories to provide an “early warning” for when things might be going wrong.
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