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Short course: public online feedback for healthcare improvement


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This short course, produced in collaboration with Imperial College London, introduces the purposes, processes and impacts of online patient feedback using Care Opinion.

The course consists of three short videos (8-10 minutes each), with recommended reading after each video.

Course tutor

Dr James Munro is chief executive of Care Opinion, the UK’s non-profit online feedback service for health and social care. His background is clinical medicine, public health, and health services research.

Course goals

The goals of this course are:

  • To understand why traditional forms of feedback/complaint are often disliked by both patients and health/care staff, and have limited value for quality improvement
  • To become familiar with online patient feedback, and the Care Opinion platform
  • To understand both the benefits and the risks of public online feedback, and the range of impacts which result


Before the course, read this short NIHR Alert:

Session 1: what is the problem with patient feedback?

Goals of this session:

  • To understand why patients may be reluctant to complain or give honest feedback
  • To understand limitations of traditional feedback approaches for quality improvement

Video (8 minutes)

After the video:

Read this study of why patients post feedback online:

How care felt to a patient (who was also a staff member):

A study of how staff view complaints:

Session 2: how does online patient feedback work, and how is it used?

Goals of this session:

  • To be aware of the range of online feedback channels
  • To become familiar with Care Opinion’s non-profit online feedback service
  • To understand the vision, values and practices which make Care Opinion work

Video (10 minutes)

After this video:

Using the Care Opinion search box, explore some of the stories people have shared online about a condition, intervention or type of service which interests you.

What do the stories tell you about what people valued most in their care, or had most concerns about?

Watch this 3-minute video about Care Opinion in NHS Fife:

Consider this story and responses: - How do the responses from the two trusts differ? Why do you think this is the case?

Read this study of what matters to patients in a response to online feedback:

Listen to this podcast of James Munro and Tessa Richards talking about Care Opinion

Session 3: What are the benefits and risks of online feedback via Care Opinion?

Goals of this session:

  • To understand the range of users and potential users of online feedback
  • To be aware of the benefits and potential harms of online feedback
  • To understand how online feedback might develop further, and consider the unanswered research questions

Video (9 minutes)

After this video:

Read this blog (or listen to the recording) from a service user on how she made use of online feedback:

Read this blog about the impact of online patient feedback in an acute healthcare provider:

Read this brief blog post which supported the NIHR themed review of patient feedback:

After this course

Some activities to consider after this course:

Follow us on Twitter (questions and comments welcome!)

Explore more of the research about online feedback: