Exploring Patients’ Views Toward Giving Web-Based Feedback and Ratings to General Practitioners in England: A Qualitative Descriptive Study

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Patel, Salma ; Cain, Rebecca ; Neailey, Kevin ; Hooberman, Lucy (2016)
  • Publisher: JMIR Publications
  • Journal: Journal of Medical Internet Research, volume 18, issue 8 (issn: 1439-4456, eissn: 1438-8871)
  • Related identifiers: pmc: PMC4992166, doi: 10.2196/jmir.5865, doi: 10.2196/jmir.5865
  • Subject: physician quality | public reporting | Web-based reviews | primary care | quality transparency | Original Paper | quality patient empowerment | Internet

<strong>Background:</strong> Patient feedback websites or doctor rating websites are increasingly being used by patients to give feedback about their health care experiences. There is little known about why patients in England may give Web-based feedback and what may motivate or dissuade them from giving Web-based feedback.<br/>\ud \ud <br/>\ud <strong>Objective:</strong> The aim of this study was to explore patients’ views toward giving Web-based feedback and ratings to general practitioners (GPs), within the context of other feedback methods available in primary care in England, and in particular, paper-based feedback cards.<br/>\ud \ud <br/>\ud <strong>Methods:</strong> A descriptive exploratory qualitative approach using face-to-face semistructured interviews was used in this study. Purposive sampling was used to recruit 18 participants from different age groups in London and Coventry. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using applied thematic analysis.<br/>\ud \ud <br/>\ud <strong>Results:</strong> Half of the participants in this study were not aware of the opportunity to leave feedback for GPs, and there was limited awareness about the methods available to leave feedback for a GP. The majority of participants were not convinced that formal patient feedback was needed by GPs or would be used by GPs for improvement, regardless of whether they gave it via a website or on paper. Some participants said or suggested that they may leave feedback on a website rather than on a paper-based feedback card for several reasons: because of the ability and ease of giving it remotely; because it would be shared with the public; and because it would be taken more seriously by GPs. Others, however, suggested that they would not use a website to leave feedback for the opposite reasons: because of accessibility issues; privacy and security concerns; and because they felt feedback left on a website may be ignored.<br/>\ud \ud <br/>\ud <strong>Conclusions:</strong> Patient feedback and rating websites as they currently are will not replace other mechanisms for patients in England to leave feedback for a GP. Rather, they may motivate a small number of patients who have more altruistic motives or wish to place collective pressure on a GP to give Web-based feedback. If the National Health Service or GP practices want more patients to leave Web-based feedback, we suggest they first make patients aware that they can leave anonymous feedback securely on a website for a GP. They can then convince them that their feedback is needed and wanted by GPs for improvement, and that the reviews they leave on the website will be of benefit to other patients to decide which GP to see or which GP practice to join.
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