Confidence Goods 14
Does this sound familiar?
Website to put up hospital ‘scoreboard’
Cancer support website to collect public feedback on patient services
by Lin Yanqin
FROM time to time, medical professionals may need gentle reminders to show more empathy and care when dealing with patients.
And the founder of a cancer support website hopes to do just that, by helping members of the public send notes to doctors and nurses from public hospitals whom they feel have not carried out their duties well.
So that such feedback does not go unnoticed, the number of such notes - called “Smart Chips” - received by each hospital will be tallied on a “scoreboard” on the website www.cancerstory.com.
Said website founder Lee Soh Hong, 47: “By having members of the public come together to express their concern, I think it will draw the public hospitals’ attention and help them realise that they need to do something about their shortcomings.”
But the idea has drawn criticism from some medical professionals, who doubt the effectiveness of such a feedback mechanism.
Ms Lee, a freelance accountant, started this initiative following the feedback she received on the book she wrote last year about her father’s death and her negative experience with the care he received in a public hospital.
Changi General Hospital chief executive officer T K Udairam felt that the scoreboard created an unfair basis for comparison.
“Some of the public hospitals are large and see a huge volume of patients, so it’s likely they will gather more notes and feedback than other hospitals,” he said. Hence, it would be unfair to draw conclusions based on numbers alone.
The hospital has five different feedback mechanisms, all of which are actively used. “We get emails and calls every day,” said Mr Udairam.
“It’s a complex balance between the patient’s expectations and whether we can meet them as a public hospital, and I don’t know if this (initiative) can address (the complexities).”
A nurse from a public hospital said she did not understand the need for the initiative, since patients can send their feedback to the hospital or the medical personnel themselves.
“I think it’s more sensible to encourage communication between the public and us,” said the 34-year-old nurse, who declined to be named. “This seems roundabout.”
Ms Lee acknowledged that the initiative was not a perfect solution. “I have spoken to doctors and nurses I know, and while they were encouraging, they also said that it’s up to (individuals) whether they take the message to heart,” she said.
“There is no quick fix to influence others, and it will take time for Smart Chips to be successful in reminding doctors and nurses to play their roles professionally. But I think it’s worth a try.”
Ms Dorothy Tan, 46, an accounts and admin manager and a supporter of the initiative, felt it was a good move.
“It’s another outlet for people to make their feelings known and I think it creates a bigger sense of accountability for improvement for the hospitals,” said Ms Tan.
If it does, maybe it's because you read about a similar idea here almost three years ago?
It is difficult to predict how Ms Lee's project will turn out, but angry doc is not optimistic that such a scheme will improve the quality of care delivered by the hospitals. angry doc doesn't care if his patients feel good after seeing him - he just wants them to get better. He eagerly awaits his first "chip".
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