In British Columbia, measurement of patient experiences and patient outcomes is a provincial strategic objective, giving the people who use our healthcare services in BC a voice in evaluating the quality and safety of their care and our progress towards providing care that is patient-centred.
With an aim to enhance public accountability and to support the continuous improvement of patient experiences and outcomes, the BC Patient Centred Measurement Steering Committee has coordinated province-wide surveys across sectors, including Inpatient Acute Care, Emergency Department Care, Cancer Care, Mental Health and Substance Use Care, and Long-Term Residential Care since 2003. Our current additional focus on understanding patient experiences when their providers and/or locations of care change, has been prompted by the results of our survey work in BC since 2003.
BC’s provincially coordinated, scientifically rigorous measurement strategy, spearheaded by the BC Patient-Centred Measurement Steering Committee, builds on 19 years of engagement with patients, families, clinicians, leaders, policy makers, researchers, and community stakeholder groups all working together to continuously improve patient-centred measurement in BC. This includes survey selection and development, data collection (quantitative and qualitative), reporting and action based on feedback from BC’s patients and families.
The British Columbia Office of Patient-Centred Measurement is a provincial resource located on the unceded traditional homelands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. With this acknowledgment, we thank those Indigenous people who continue to live on and care for these lands and those with whom our team has the privilege to work in partnership with in the beautiful province of British Columbia.
What We Do
The focus of the BC Patient Centred Measurement Steering Committee is on the selection or design of surveys, the collection of information or data, the analysis and interpretation of information or data, the reporting of results, the dissemination of results, and the facilitation of action planning using the results for clinical practice support, quality improvement and evaluation, accountability, and research.
For each survey, we define the methodology, which takes into account the needs of the population being surveyed, the survey project scope, and financial constraints. Each tool or suite of tools that we select and/or develop ensures that the elements of the care experience that are most important to our patients and families are captured and that the strategic directions of our healthcare organizations are reflected.
We often partner with a vendor for distribution of our surveys and data collection. This partnership is established through the province’s Shared Services Organization via a formal Request For Proposal process and all vendors are subject to strict privacy and confidentiality expectations in accordance with BC’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act; privacy impact assessments are conducted for every survey project and reviewed by the provincial Health Information, Privacy and Security Operations Council (HIPSOC). All surveys are voluntary and a promise of confidentiality is made to all patients who choose to respond.
Our in-house team works closely with our vendor partners to collate the survey results and analyze the data (e.g., case mix adjustment, weighting for disproportional sampling) for the different audiences.
From comprehensive technical reports to one-page storyboards, our reports summarize the quantitative and qualitative data for different purposes and audiences. For example, qualitative feedback in the form of patient narrative comments are transcribed, masked to omit any personal identifier and made available through a searchable database. Comments are coded and provide useful “stories” to illustrate the numerical results of our surveys or can be further analyzed to discover deeper themes to inform improvement efforts.
We are committed to publicly reporting the results to all our surveys. We create a communication strategy to ensure that the reports and results are shared in an appropriate manner suitable for each of our stakeholders.
Results into Action
Our surveys and results are used to inform and affect change at the local, regional, and provincial levels. At the local level, our surveys can be used to measure the impact of a chance as part of a quality improvement project. At the provincial level, we are able to do additional analysis to link the patient experiences and outcomes to other data to gain a fulsome picture of our health system is meeting the needs of British Columbians.
Membership of the BC Patient-Centred Measurement Steering Committee includes representation from the BC Ministry of Health, each of the 7 health authorities, the research/academic community, and patients/families. For each sector we survey, we also bring together a Consultation Group, whose membership is expanded to reflect the interests of the specific sector, including patients and relevant community stakeholder groups.