Use of patient experience data in commissioning and care: a scoping study

Key Points

  • There have been calls to make more proactive use of data on patient experience in order to improve quality, safety, and indeed patient experience itself.
  • For commissioners and providers, making sense of the wealth of sources of data available can be challenging.
  • This project, funded by Leicester City CCG’s NIHR Research Capability Funding, aims to examine current practice in the collection, interpretation and use of patient experience data, and to contribute to a potential larger study that would develop ways of helping NHS organisations maximise the value of this source of information.


Improving patient experience is a central priority for the NHS. Nationally, ‘Ensuring that people have a positive experience of care’ is one of the five domains of the NHS Outcomes Framework; locally, patient experience is a central plank in Leicester City CCG’s Quality Strategy, for both primary care and commissioned services. New national initiatives, such as the Friends and Family Test among others, provide NHS organisations with more data than ever before while localised initiatives, such as patient participation groups in GP practices and the work undertaken by Healthwatch, offer more bespoke and potentially nuanced feedback on patients’ experiences of their care.

Rationale behind the study

Providers and commissioners may struggle to convert patient experience data into a resource that is useful for improvement. More broadly, managers also face challenges in reconciling, weighing up and making use of data from different groups of patients, often collected in very different ways, especially when such sources conflict with one another.

The research study

The study involves literature reviews, scoping interviews, and patient and public involvement, laying the ground for a potential future collaborative bid to a major funder. Researchers will work with contacts within the Leicestershire Improvement, Innovation and Patient Safety (LIIPS) Unit to foster a strong partnership of academic, managerial, and clinical collaborators. The study aims to examine current practice in NHS commissioning and provider organisations in the collection, interpretation and use of patient experience and to identify obstacles to the use of such data to improve quality. Using this information, the team will develop a larger-scale research proposal aimed at assisting NHS organisations in navigating the plurality of sources of patient experience data, helping them to maximise the quality of insights they derive from them, and using them proactively to improve quality of care.

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