If you have ever stayed in a hotel, accessed banking services, or dined at a restaurant, you have probably been asked to complete a survey about your experiences. Healthcare services are no different, and today, many hospitals and healthcare systems routinely conduct experience surveys. In doing so, they recognize the vital role that the feedback from patients and families plays in the planning and delivery of high-quality, patient-centered healthcare services.

In Alberta, Canada, a random sample of adult patients and the parents or guardians of child patients are asked to provide feedback about their hospital stay. This is done using a telephone survey that is administered shortly after leaving hospital. To date, approximately 170,000 surveys have been captured from 93 hospitals across the province. Since 2015, a research team at the University of Calgary has analysed this data, by linking the surveys with administrative hospital data sets (e.g. inpatient, emergency department records).

A new open access article, “How to Analyze and Link Patient Experience Surveys with Administrative Data to Drive Health Service Improvement – Examples from Alberta, Canada” published as part of a special issue on “Bringing Together Non-routine and Routine Data” in the International Journal of Population Data Science (IJPDS), provides an overview of this work. It describes the data sources, linkage protocol, research topics explored to date, and the key results from these activities. To date, research has reported upon the key clinical and demographic drivers of inpatient experience, the specific aspects of care which are most correlated with one’s overall experiences, and the association of elements of the patient experience with other measures, such as patient safety indicators and unplanned hospital readmissions.

Lead author Kyle Kemp, a Senior Research Associate at the University of Calgary, and with the Patient Engagement Platform of the Alberta Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR), commented on the importance of this work. “Linking surveys with administrative datasets can lead to tangible improvements in patient care, while shining a light upon leading practices. The clinical data from administrative records has allowed our team to examine the experiences of different groups of patients, and to explore relationships between experience and other health system measures.”

Although patient experience data is routinely captured in several jurisdictions, there have been relatively few peer-reviewed studies which report on the insights which may be derived from patient-reported experience measures. In publishing this manuscript in IJPDS, the research team hopes to inspire others who wish to do similar work in their own setting.

Click here to read the full open access article


Kyle Kemp, Senior Research Associate, University of Calgary

Kemp, K., Fairie, P., Steele, B. and Santana, M. (2022) “How to Analyze and Link Patient Experience Surveys with Administrative Data to Drive Health Service Improvement”, International Journal of Population Data Science, 7(4). doi: 10.23889/ijpds.v7i4.1763.