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Care Opinion within a GP setting – A Case Study

Update from The Lawson Practice

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About: The Lawson Practice

picture of Amanda Rayner

I have been involved with Care Opinion at the Lawson practice since November 2018.

Initially I was apprehensive about another ‘review site’ for patients to publicly rate our service on. However from the start it was made clear that this site was going to be different, the patients are very much asked to share a story about their visit/interaction with the practice.

The stories shared so far have been positive on the whole and the ones that offer suggestions or raise concerns are stories that we have actually been able to make changes in practice. The two-way process allowing patients to engage with our practice about the services we offer has been so different to our previous experiences with review sites, we have therefore championed this site and use it to help shape our practice.

The site is easy to navigate and the support from the Care Opinion team ensures that the whole process is painless to implement. The most important part is to ensure that in your practice you have at least one partner on board and a strong managerial/admin support. This will mean that you are able to get the responses out quickly to patient stories and address any areas of concern appropriately.

We mention the site at practice meetings and do a regular email with specific comments and staff mentions from the site. It is such a morale boost for our staff, especially in the current climate, to see that so many patients are happy with the service we are providing.

We have championed the use of Care Opinion and use it to help shape our practice.

Care Opinion is a very different platform in terms of feedback. It has allowed our team to gather some really important feedback on a number of different areas in our practice. It has taught us not to shy away from patient engagement.

Some of the responses have highlighted some very important issues for our patients where we have been able to actually make improvements. Patients are able to see other stories and mark if they are having similar experiences, and they can see that we are an open and transparent practice happy to engage and work with our patients.

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We underestimated the impact it would have on staff at our practice, how uplifting it is to have your name mentioned by a patient and then shared with the whole team – such a boost!

Most importantly, it has not created the increased workload I was worried about. It really takes very little time in terms of responding. The area where I think you do need to put in time and effort is definitely at the start, to get it embedded into your practice and then ongoing to keep up with the responses. I also think that ensuring that we have ‘Care Opinion’ champions in the practice has helped immensely.

We have implemented a Care Opinion corner in the practice (very popular pre-Covid). We also use screens in our waiting room to offer a live feed of our stories, we have QR code posters, QR slips and message patients after specific clinics like our BCG service. We have particularly found that it has been a really useful site to mention in our CQC visit, in terms of patient feedback.

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Favourite thing about Care Opinion

I think the ease of use for both patients and staff is the best point about Care Opinion, it really is so simple. Also the team at Care Opinion are so supportive, there are always developments, like kiosk mode and invitation links for example, which make things easier for gathering patients' stories.

I also think that being able to hear directly from a patient what they think about our response to their story is so helpful. We have had several stories where following our practice response the patient has replied. Obviously this is something that is missing on other sites and is so important for knowing whether the actions you have implemented are approved of by the patient who took the time to write to you in the first place.

Challenges

The only real challenge for us is to ensure that we are capturing a fair representation of views across the practice. Unlike previous sites, we have found that we have a higher proportion of positive stories. This is obviously really great, but we want to reflect all areas of the practice.

So we have spent some time thinking about how we can ensure all feedback is captured. We have automatic replies on our practice email to ask for feedback and if we get contacts regarding concerns/improvements at reception or via the phone we offer the use of Care Opinion. We explain that this is a platform where patients can share their experience or make suggestions and that they will receive a response directly from the lead partner or management team.

We are constantly thinking about ways to increase engagement with patients and hope by continuing to promote Care Opinion we can capture some really valuable information about how patients feel about our practice and the services we offer.

Hopes for the future

I am very passionate about the use of Care Opinion and its benefits. I am now helping the City and Hackney GP Confederation roll this out in other GP practices.

I think it would be amazing to have all staff engaged in capturing feedback using this platform. I think that City and Hackney should be very proud of the GP services we offer to local patients. It’s a tricky time in terms of the impact of Covid. We have had to adapt the way that we run many of our services. It would be great to be able to look back in a years’ time and see that all 40 practices were signed up and that they were all experiencing the same high level of positive feedback that we have experienced.

If there were stories with clear changes made, which show that we are all listening and adapting what we do to ensure patients feel listened to, then I would feel that we have achieved something very positive here.

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