Health care complaint journeys for system comparison

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, 2018, 31 (8), pp. 878 - 887
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© 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: The “patient journey” technique is one that has been used by health care providers to investigate the strengths and weaknesses of their service delivery. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the experience of adapting this approach for use in an atypical context – the comparison of two systems for managing health care complaints and notifications. It highlights a number of relevant considerations and provides suggestions for similar studies. Design/methodology/approach: The design and methods of the study are described, with commentary on the success of key aspects and challenges encountered. To enable comparison between the two systems, this study had a “paired” design, in which examples were selected from each system so that they matched on basic, prescribed, criteria. Data about each matter’s journey were then collected from administrative records. Findings: While, overall, the technique provided rich data on the processes of the systems under investigation, the type of data collected (related to administrative/communicative events) and the study’s comparative purpose required consideration and management of a number of issues. These included the implications of using administrative records and the impact of differences between the systems on the paired design. Originality/value: This paper describes an attempt to apply the “journey” approach in a context that is uncommon in two ways: first, in its focus on regulatory processes (complaint/notification handling), rather than care provision to an individual patient; and second, in its objective of comparing two different systems. It is hoped this account will assist in further development of this technique.
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