A new report explores how patient complaints can be used to drive improvement and discusses the barriers to using them effectively.
Putting out fires: a qualitative study exploring the use of patient complaints to drive improvement at three academic hospitals deals with the idea that some types of patient complaints are perennial, pervasive and well-known.
It questions why some types of patient complaint persist for years, without appearing to lead to institutional or system-wide improvements and identifies three main challenges.
Faced with these challenges in embedding organisational learning and improvement, the authors argue patient experience staff focus instead on ‘complaint resolution’ – typically defined as addressing patient complaints in as timely a fashion as possible.
Many referred to this part of the job as ‘putting out fires’.