Are patients satisfied with the treatment they received in the umcs? The umcs measure this with the Patient Experience Monitor (PEM). By learning from patient experiences, the umcs can continuously improve care.

What is the PEM?

The PEM is a continuous measurement method, developed jointly by the umcs associated in the NFU. The monitor consists of relatively short questionnaires, based on ones from the British Picker Institute. It contains both open and closed questions. When patients are admitted to an umc or visit one of the outpatient clinics, they are asked to complete an online questionnaire. The independent research bureau Expoints sends out the invitation for this by e-mail. The questions explore the modern patient-oriented care provision and concern, for example, deciding together, the involvement of loved ones in the treatment, as well as waiting lists, etc.

Together with the expertise centre Pharos, the umcs have invested a great deal of time in making the questionnaires as understandable as possible for people with limited health skills. There are also separate questionnaires for parents and children in different age categories.

Patients participate voluntarily in the PEM, and their answers are always processed anonymously. The umcs can add specific questions to the PEM for their own umc or departments, for example, to monitor internal improvement processes. The umcs use a question library for this purpose, from which they can select valid questions to add to the general (generic) questionnaire. This allows them to adjust the questionnaires to their local situation. For the umcs, it is important for the patients to be satisfied with the care provided. With the PEM, patients can let the umcs know specific points for improvement of the care provision.

How do we view the results?

The PEM results are visible for the umcs in a real-time dashboard. They have a clear overview there of all anonymised outcomes of the umc as a whole, by specialism and by department. The results of the other umcs are also visible at these levels. The outcomes can be compared both internally (between specialisms and departments) and externally (with other umcs). In the future the results will be able to be compared internationally as well. This is not only valuable for the umcs themselves, it is also important for the patients to see the results. Up until now, that has been possible on the websites of the umcs, but thought is being given to how this transparency can be implemented further, for example, by using infographics.

Each year the NFU prepares a mixed-case benchmark report, with which striking deviations between the umcs can be compared. The following benchmark takes place in September 2020. In the meantime, we are examining together with umbrella organisations how we can take joint action to measure patient experiences.

Initial outcomes of PEM

The PEM was first conducted in September 2019. Here are a few of the results:

Number of interviewed umc patients:

  • 236,000.

Average score for the umcs:

  • 8.4 (both adults and children).

% respondents who trust the doctors:

  • around 93% (outpatient clinic), almost 90% (hospital).

Most striking suggestion for improvement:

  • more information is desired about the waiting times in the outpatient clinic (by both adults and children). 

 Another suggestion for improvement:

  • more information is desired about the side effects of medication (by both adults and children).

 Striking suggestion for improvement made by children:

  • there is too little distraction in the outpatient clinic.

The umcs are now busy working on these outcomes of the PEM, to keep improving care.