This is Care Opinion [siteRegion]. Did you want Care Opinion [usersRegionBasedOnIP]?

Are you ready to embrace online feedback?

Update from Quality Improvement

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Craig Orr

This guest blog post is by Craig Orr, a senior staff nurse in the NHS in Scotland.

Two or three years ago, while working as a staff nurse, my clinical nurse manager introduced our team to Care Opinion and asked us to share it with anyone who used our unit, whether patients or families. They explained that Care Opinion was a feedback platform where honest comments would be posted by patients about our department.

So that’s what we did: we told patients about Care Opinion, what it was and how to use it. Job done!

Before long, feedback came in. Some good, some not so good. Above all, it was honest and heartfelt, and it provided a fresh pair of eyes on our department in a way that was new for us. We were given suggestions like revising paperwork so it was easier to understand, and providing background music to help relax during procedures. These suggestions were implemented. We continued to receive feedback with staff members named and praised. This led to emails being sent to all staff making them aware of their hard work and effort.

In short, our department was getting excellent feedback about the service we provided, which was a huge pat on the back, especially because it was received from patients and not line managers.

Before long, we were asked to help in making a video about Care Opinion, and I was asked to participate. I agreed immediately because it was a service I thoroughly believed in, heart and soul. The video has been shown around the UK and it highlights how online feedback is working well for our unit and for our patients.

I am now working in another health board area, where people are new to Care Opinion. Some departments have embraced Care Opinion and are receiving excellent feedback, while others are not sure whether to use it or stick with their own feedback route.

I can understand why some people might not like this

This is tricky because existing routes for feedback are “the way it’s always been done”. They feel safe because the feedback stays behind closed doors. That’s being challenged by something much more open which is “not the way we do things round here”.

I can understand why some people might not like this. There are familiar fears: someone might complain, it might go public, other people might see it. Our department might look bad.

When you use Care Opinion you take off your bullet-proof vest, put your heart on your sleeve, and open yourself and your service to criticism. No wonder people will hesitate. But my question would be this: whatever department you work in, if you are truly providing holistic, patient-centred care, looking after and communicating with your patients and families, then what have you to fear?

Care Opinion provides an open, transparent, easy platform to give and receive feedback. If something has been missed, communication was poor, or a suggestion can be made to improve the service, it creates an immediate opportunity to put something right that you might not otherwise be aware of, along with a direct line of reply to the feedback author.

And because the feedback can be seen anywhere in the UK and even abroad (which to me is just fantastic), if I’m reading a patient story from Ireland or Australia, I can take that learning from elsewhere and use it to benefit my patients.

So what happens now? Are you ready to embrace open online feedback – and if not, what is really stopping you?

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