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What is this resource?

This resource is a key output from an NIHR-funded research project called INQUIRE: improving NHS quality using internet ratings and experiences. It turns the research findings and key lessons into a practical output. It is designed to help healthcare staff interpret and respond appropriately to online feedback and use it to improve healthcare delivery.

Led by the University of Oxford, the INQUIRE project was made up of five activities:

  • speaking to experts and examining previous research to find out about current practice in online feedback
  • developing a public questionnaire to find out who is reading and writing online feedback, and the reasons they choose to comment on health services in this way
  • interviewing patients about their experiences of giving feedback to the NHS
  • developing a questionnaire to find out about the experiences and views of healthcare professionals
  • conducting observations in four NHS trusts to learn more about the approaches that NHS organisations take to receiving and dealing with online feedback from patients.

These five activities allowed us to find out what online feedback from patients represents, how it is currently viewed by healthcare staff and patients, and how healthcare providers could use it to improve the quality of their services.

Who is the resource for?

The resource is aimed at a range of people interested in learning more about online patient feedback in healthcare. The specific learning goals will differ for different users and audiences:

  • Healthcare staff interested in patient experience
    Staff such as patient experience managers and quality improvement managers can use this resource to help interpret and respond to the comments they receive in their organisations. The resource discusses the key features, strengths and weaknesses of online feedback, so that staff are better equipped to use it for improvement. For example: how common is it? Who is and isn’t doing it? What do patients, the public and healthcare professionals think about it? And what are the challenges and opportunities for making sure everyone uses online feedback in the most helpful ways?
  • Frontline healthcare staff
    The resource is also helpful for healthcare staff who are mentioned in online feedback from patients and carers. It can help them understand people’s motivations for leaving feedback and demonstrate the potential value of this feedback for improving healthcare delivery.
  • People who use healthcare services
    Others, such as patients, carers and anyone who uses healthcare services may also find the resource useful. It may be helpful to understand how providers view and use their feedback, and how to provide feedback in ways that might help healthcare staff learn and improve. It may also help patient champions or advocates to support and encourage others to give feedback online in productive ways.

How to use this resource

You may choose to work through the resource from the beginning in the style of a learning course, or if you’re looking for something specific you might prefer to dip in and out of the different pages.

Get in touch

We welcome your feedback. Let us know what you think of this resource – on Twitter at @INQUIREUK or @PointofCareFdn or to