Care Opinion and COVID-19
Last updated 01 April 2020
Does online feedback really matter at a time like this?
The Covid-19 pandemic is creating unprecedented pressures on the NHS and it is right that clinical and operational issues take top priority.
But even in these extraordinary times, online feedback from patients and carers matters, and may make an important difference to both staff and patients. For example:
- For patients: being able to say thank you and receive a response from staff is one way to (safely) connect as human beings at a time when many social connections are at risk
- For staff: the majority of feedback on Care Opinion is positive and much evidence shows how important this can be for staff morale. Patients will want to encourage and support staff through throughout this pandemic period, and this is more important than ever to staff.
- For services: as health services adapt to remote models of delivery, you may be setting up or expanding new online or phone services for information, consultation, support, etc. Online feedback is one way you can find out whether those new services are actually working well, or need improving
In short, for many staff teams, online feedback will remain as relevant as it has always been. For others, new needs for safe online systems for patient feedback may arise as work practices change in unexpected ways.
Our CEO James Munro has written a piece for The BMJ. Read more about why patient feedback in a pandemic still matters.
Is it important still to respond to feedback?
We understand that current service pressures mean that responding to feedback on Care Opinion may seem a low priority task.
For the reasons set out above, responding may still be important for many people, although not for everyone. People will understand that responses may take longer, and Care Opinion has added text to its automated emails to remind feedback authors of this. Evidence-based good practice guidelines* suggest that people do expect a response within a week.
Some services have asked about moving to a centralised model of responding (for example, by the patient experience team instead of by clinical teams). We would recommend considering this on a team-by-team basis.
Some teams may be relatively unaffected by Covid-19 and wish to continue responding themselves. Others may find this impossible.
You can use the alerting built into Care Opinion to help you manage this. For example, you can set an alert to respond centrally if no response has been posted by the clinical team after 7 days. If you need help to do this, let us know.
Will people ask for Covid-19 advice on Care Opinion?
We have received a small number of posts asking for advice on Covid-19 issues. In these cases, we will refer authors directly to official and trustworthy online resources.
Can we use Care Opinion for feedback about our new online/phone services?
Yes. Over coming months we expect many teams to be testing out new forms of remote service delivery. From time to time there will be teething problems with such services which can only be identified if patients are able to give rapid and specific feedback.
If you are interested in exploring how to integrate Care Opinion into new remote services, please get in touch.
How can we keep staff connected with support and training opportunities?
In some services, staff may be working from home for extended periods, or self-isolating. Care Opinion provides a range of online training and support resources for staff, including regular training webinars,* and these will continue to be available despite the current disruption.
We can also offer bespoke training webinars to staff on qualifying subscriptions. Again, do contact us if you would find this helpful.
* These links are to pages on careopinion.org.uk but are applicable to careopinion.ie