A day in the life of a moderator at Care Opinion

Update from Care Opinion Scotland

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We are excited to share with you the first in our series of “A day in the life” interviews from our team in Scotland. Each month we will be sharing a different interview, so you can learn more about what our team does behind the scenes and from this gain further insight into the work of our organisation. Our first interview is with our colleague Ali Patrick.

Photo of Ali Patrick

1. What’s your name and what is your role in Care Opinion.

Hello! My name is Ali and I'm a First Line Moderator at Care Opinion, based in the Scottish team.

2. Can you tell us what a moderator does? 

A first line moderator is the first set of eyes on any story submitted to Care Opinion. My job is to read through the story, and using our detailed moderation policy, make sure we can publish the story safely. This entails ensuring that the content of the story falls within our guidelines, removing potentially identifying details of service users and staff alike where necessary, communicating with authors where necessary, and generally making sure that the story is ready and appropriate for publication. It's usually a straightforward process, but more complicated stories might involve discussion with a Second Line Moderator. The first line moderator also makes sure that the story is tagged to the right services and departments so that it will be seen by the right people. Finally, to add "primary tags" - the words and phrases in the summary alongside every story, that sum up the key aspects of each experience.

3. What have you learned from reading people stories of their experiences of health and care?

One of the first things I learned from moderating stories at Care Opinion is that, for the most part, people are generally not looking to complain!  The majority of stories are positive, and people are very keen to give praise and recognition to health and care services. Even when stories have some level of criticality, most authors are keen to share their experiences in the hope of improving services for others. I've also learned that how well people are supported through their journey is key to their experience - some positive stories are full of praise for staff and their approach, whereas some more critical stories contain elements of feeling ignored, unsupported or unvalued. What I’ve learned from reading so many stories is that no matter what's happening, a friendly face can make all the difference in the patient experience.

4. Can you tell us a little bit about the journey of a story?

Once a story is submitted to Care Opinion by an author, or a leaflet or phone call is entered by a member of the team, it joins the moderation queue of all stories that are waiting to be published. From there it's picked up by a first line moderator, who moderates stories based on our policies and tags them to the appropriate services, so they can be read and responded to by the right people. Most stories go straight to publication and appear on the live site. More complicated stories will be discussed to decide what (if any) action needs to be taken, so that the story can be published safely. The more complicated stories are often handled by a senior member of the team, as they may need to contact the author or the services the story is about. About 95% of stories can be published.

Once the story is published, it is public on the Care Opinion site for people to read. The services which are linked to the stories are informed, so they can write a response. If the service makes a change (or is planning to) based on the feedback in the story, they can also indicate this in their response. When the response is published, the story author is informed by email.

5. What does a normal day look like for you?

First, a good strong coffee! After that I usually check my email and attend a Zoom meeting or two before heading to the moderation queue. After scanning for any immediately concerning stories, and following up on stories that are specifically assigned to me, it's just a matter of working through one by one, sometimes contacting authors and discussing with a senior moderator where necessary.

6. What’s your favourite thing about working for Care Opinion?

For me, the best thing about working for Care Opinion is the flexibility and working as part of a small and dedicated team. Having previously worked for a large national company - this really does make all the difference.

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