Context: Better, reproducible and structured methods of assessing care provided to endocrine patients are needed. Similarly, access to regional units and referral pathways could be improved with nationally agreed standards for waiting times.
Objective: To gain views on the current level of patient care and how services might be improved using a 360-degree assessment process.
Method: Three web based surveys were created using SurveyMonkey (www.surveymonkey.net)including both quantitative and qualitative questions and then emailed to specific groups: Externally: Patients who underwent pituitary surgery (TSS) April 2010 April 2011 Random sampling (n=30) Referring consultants: All local district general hospital endocrinologists (n=25) Internally: All departmental staff (n=40).
Response and Results: Patients: 87% response rate; 79.2% said their diagnosis and treatment were explained and inpatient care rated highly. Environmental factors were highlighted for service improvement. Key worker information provided was highly rated. 63% would prefer their care to remain at our centre despite having to travel 2050 miles. Waiting time for surgery was identified as fair or poor in 50%. This was concordant with staff views internally. Referring Consultants 56% response rate: 92.9% reported a high standard of care, and treatment delay was not considered as a concern.
Conclusions: Our survey allowed us to identify the most important areas from a patient and referrer perspective.Web-based surveys are useful tools for gaining feedback. They are quick and easy to use, cost-effective and an efficient means of assessing service and engaging service users. This survey could be modified and replicated to be used nationally as an ongoing service assessment and improvement tool and used to develop shared standards.
Declaration of interest: There is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the research reported.
Funding: No specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sector.