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New Data Highlights Importance of Communication During Hospital Stays


For the first time, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) is releasing patient experience survey data, shedding light on how Canadians feel about care received during a hospital stay.

Patient Experience in Canadian Hospitals looks at how patients felt about communication during their stay, including with and between care providers, about medications and when leaving hospital. 

Overall, Canadians who completed the survey were satisfied with communication throughout their stay, though the data highlights certain areas that warrant a closer look. 

Highlights include the following: 

  • More than 2 in 3 patients said doctors and nurses always listened to them carefully and explained things in a way they could understand.
  • About half of patients (56%) felt like their care in hospital was well-coordinated.
  • 1 in 3 patients did not feel completely informed about their condition, treatment and medication when leaving the hospital. 

“Understanding patients’ health care experiences is integral to improving quality of care and patient-centredness — a major focus for hospitals in the country.” — Kathleen Morris, Vice President, Research and Analysis, CIHI

 Patient experience data at work

Participating hospitals are using survey results to guide patient experience improvement programs.

After adopting CIHI’s survey, administrators at Ross Memorial Hospital in Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, learned that their patients reported not having enough information when discharged from the hospital. 

The hospital turned data into action by implementing the Patient Oriented Discharge Summary (PODS) External link, opens in new window, a program co-developed with patients by University Health Network’s OpenLab, to improve its results. The program ensures that patients have all necessary instructions in writing when leaving the hospital. After a successful pilot in 2 units, PODS spread across Ross Memorial. 

2 years later, the hospital’s overall patient experience results have improved by 12 percentage points, from 46% to 58%.

“Our patient experience survey results show us that our patients are feeling more confident about their care at home. Ensuring that they truly understand the next steps in their journey is key to our patients’ safe recovery.” — Anne Overhoff, Vice President Patient Care and Chief Nursing Executive, Ross Memorial Hospital

About CIHI’s patient experiences survey

The Canadian Patient Experiences Survey — Inpatient Care (CPES-IC) is the first pan-Canadian survey collecting comparable information from patients about their hospital stays. Accreditation Canada has endorsed the CPES-IC as a survey tool for use in accreditation in Canada.

The survey, which is administered by the provinces, enables patients to provide feedback about the quality of care they experienced during their most recent stay in a Canadian acute care hospital. It also provides standards and supporting documentation for those who are administering the survey. 

At the time of analysis, over 90,000 survey responses from over 300 hospitals in 5 provinces had been received. The use of the survey continues to grow quickly across the country. Further reporting of a small set of 3 to 5 patient experience measures at a facility level is planned for spring 2020.

About CIHI

The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing essential health information to all Canadians.

CIHI works closely with federal, provincial and territorial partners and stakeholders throughout Canada to gather, package and disseminate information to inform policy, management, care and research, leading to better and more equitable health outcomes for all Canadians.

Health information has become one of society’s most valuable public goods. For 25 years, CIHI has set the pace on data privacy, security, accessibility and innovation to improve Canada’s health systems.

CIHI: Better data. Better decisions. Healthier Canadians.

Associated links

Patient Experience in Canadian Hospitals (web page)
Patient-Centred Measurement Peer Learning Day — Resource Toolkit (PDF)


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