‘In the moment’ survey helps Island Health gather real time feedback from Ladysmith patients

Ladysmith Community Health Centre youth volunteers

A silver kiosk containing an iPad pre-loaded with a series of survey questions stands near the entrance to the Ladysmith Community Health Centre (LCHC). The kiosk has been placed there to allow patients to provide valuable and immediate input about their experiences at the facility. 

“We are looking for our patients to give us a report card based on their own experiences because their voices are so important. What are we doing well? Where can we improve? Are our services continuing to meet their needs?” asks Sarah Westgate, Leader, Ladysmith Community Health Centre. 

The project was developed collaboratively with input from several departments within Island Health - Patient Experience, Decision Support, IMIT, Volunteer Resources, Geographic Region 3 Quality and Operations, and local site leaders - to ensure the questions posed in the survey result in data that is both meaningful and relevant. The electronic survey mechanism will allow Island Health to focus on certain patient populations, including Indigenous patients, as well as an array of services provided at the LCHC. 

“We could send out a paper survey directly after a patient visits our facility but we want more immediate feedback while the experience is still fresh in a patient’s mind,” explains Westgate. “The kiosk is centrally located, easy to use and will provide us with the timely and useful input we are hoping to receive.”

Some of the questions outlined in the survey include:

  • Were you involved as much as you wanted to be in the decisions about your care?
  • Did staff explain things in a way you could understand?
  • Was there good communication about your care between staff members?

“Our goal is to provide integrated, timely, culturally sensitive, appropriate care for our patients where they feel confident that their needs will be met when they come to our site. We know that when patients are satisfied with their care, they will be less likely to present at emergency departments and urgent care centres,” says Westgate. “The surveys will help us to better direct our focus based on what our patients tell us.”

Directing that focus with the help of the electronic survey stems from the philosophy of the Quadruple Aim Framework of healthcare which is about improving an individual’s care experience; improving the health of populations; reducing the per capita cost of healthcare; and improving a healthcare provider’s experience in delivering care.

“Enhancing patients’ health care experiences means more than just providing excellent clinical care.  It requires care that addresses every aspect of patients’ encounters at the clinic – their physical comfort, their understanding of what’s happening and their emotional needs,” says Emma James, Island Health Director, Cowichan. “The Quadruple Aim Framework confirms that a better patient experience results in improvements in both clinical and business outcomes.”

Volunteers from the nearby Ladysmith Secondary School will be on hand during the week to let patients know about the kiosk and help patients complete the survey, if necessary.  

“A wonderful side benefit of this kiosk is the introduction of student volunteers to our site,” says Westgate.  “There are so many potential opportunities to enhance the care we provide with the assistance of volunteers.”

Users will have an opportunity to take the survey at the kiosk for the next six months. Once the data has been collected and analyzed it will be used to determine future quality improvement projects to be implemented at the LCHC.

Cowichan media inquiries: 
Cheryl Bloxham