Client Satisfaction Tool Proves Its WorthMatthew Smith has been working with the Health Systems Trust to design a ‘Client Satisfaction Tool’ - a mechanism for patients to rate their health care facility. He reports on the second phase of the pilot study.
The second phase of the pilot study, in which S&T have been
testing the Client Satisfaction Tool (CS Tool) it designed for Health
Systems Trust (HST), was successfully completed in June 2000. Readers
may remember that at the end of last year S&T performed pilot
studies at two peri-urban hospitals, one in Kokstad and the other
In the first phase, S&T tested the CS Tool it had developed for
HST. The instrument asks a series of questions to gauge the perception
clients (or patients) have of the hospital. The answers are then grouped
under common themes (such as access, satisfaction, reliability, responsiveness
and empathy) so that he hospital can measure what the clients think
of the hospital; and the hospital can ultimately set itself some performance
targets that it can work towards.
Allowing patients space to comment on and rate health care facilities
may be a critical step in achieving a better health care system. As
we become ‘clients’ to be served, rather than ‘patients’ to be worked
on, so hospitals and clinics may develop a more appropriate working
In the phase that has just been completed, some minor adjustments
were made to the instrument, which is why it was decided to pilot
the instrument again, using the same sites. As in the first phase,
S&T were present at both hospitals to ensure the administration
of the instrument was done along the strict guidelines governing this
type of study – permission was sought from each patient, confidentiality
was assured and no member of the hospital staff was involved in the
process to ensure the integrity of the study.
The results of the pilot study were very encouraging at two levels.
At the level of the instrument itself, they demonstrated that the
tool is both reliable and valid. At the level of the perception of
the client, the instrument highlighted which aspects of the service
provided by the hospitals need attention and which aspects are satisfactory.
A final pilot study will be performed at each site. In preparation
for this, S&T has developed a short manual for the hospital management
to guide them through the whole process of administering the CS Tool.
Once the third pilot study has been completed, and the data analysed,
a full report on this project will be available.