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Posted on 09 Dec 2020
Patience experience and outcomes

Results of two new patient experience surveys have revealed how patients are experiencing care in Victorian public health services during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Last month VAHI released results from the Patient experience in COVID-19 and Telehealth surveys to Victorian public health services via the Victorian Healthcare Experience Survey (VHES) results portal. Each survey had approximately 5,000 respondents. 

The Patient experience in COVID-19 survey captured the experiences of admitted, emergency and maternity patients between April and June 2020. The survey focused on changes to care as a result of the pandemic, including delays to care, new visiting arrangements and use of personal protective equipment by health service staff. 

Results from this survey indicate a high level of trust and confidence in the hospital staff during the pandemic, and with new infection control measures implemented. Patients reported less positive experiences in relation to receiving emotional support from staff, particularly if they had concerns about COVID-19, however they indicated that they were assisted by staff to connect virtually with family and friends in light of restrictions to visiting.

The Telehealth survey was conducted over the same period and was designed to capture the experience of outpatients during transition from in-person to telehealth care. It covered access and support to use telehealth, participation in care, communication with healthcare professionals and patient preference of future telehealth consultations.

Results from the Telehealth survey suggest patients had positive experiences of virtual or phone care, particularly in relation to privacy during their appointment and provision of any follow up care that was required. Most respondents indicated that access to telehealth was beneficial for them at this time, and three in four indicated a preference to have a telehealth consultation, or the choice of a telehealth consultation, in the future.

The Patient experience in COVID-19 survey has been extended until at least December 2020 to capture experiences during the second wave of the pandemic. The extension will also facilitate continued collection of patient experience data while the procurement is finalised for the new Victorian Healthcare Experience Survey (VHES) program administrator. New arrangements will be in place for the 2021–22 financial year. 

This survey has now been expanded to cover additional aspects of care based on the types of issues patients have raised during the pandemic, including communication, compassion and empathy. 

The Telehealth survey will not be continued in 2020–21, however this aspect of care will be included when the broader VHES program resumes. 

For more information about these surveys please contact the VAHI Patient Experience team at vhes@vahi.vic.gov.au.

Page last updated: 09 Dec 2020