A revolutionary new smartphone app designed by Birmingham Children's Hospital - the first of its type in the NHS - is making patient and family feedback quicker, easier and more effective than ever before.
The Birmingham Children’s Hospital Feedback app has been designed to enable children, young people and families to interact with the hospital in an innovative new way to send their thoughts and comments directly to the ward or area they have visited with the simple click of a button.
Patients and families may be waiting in Outpatients when they leave a comment, they may be an inpatient sending the third comment of their admission or they might even be at home - the app gives the flexibility to feed back at any time.
The message, which is anonymous, goes straight to the manager in charge so it can be addressed in real-time, and as part of the hospital’s commitment to openness and transparency the feedback is also made publicly available on the hospital's website.
Michelle McLoughlin, Chief Nurse, has been leading the project. She said:
"We’re always looking for ways to improve how we receive feedback because what happens to our children, young people and families really matters to us and we want to get it right first time, every time.
“The app enables us to gather feedback in a way that our patients and families want to give it so we know immediately what we are getting right and what we need to improve to make their time with us the best it can be.
“We don’t mind sharing this either - all our messages and responses are published live on our website.
"Staff have embraced the technology and find it so rewarding to see the feedback from their patients and families and be able to respond straight away. It really is a great new addition to our patient experience toolkit.”
Ward Manager, Sue Davies, said:
“Our young people and families think the app is a great idea and have been keen to download it and give it a try. What I think is particularly good is that we can send a reply back to them quickly to acknowledge their comments and let them know what we have done in response. It shows that we take their views seriously and they don’t just disappear into a black hole.
“The technology is simple and staff have been able to incorporate it into their working day really easily. The majority of the feedback we’ve had so far has been positive which helps empower our staff and validate their important role.”
Parents of two year old patient Lola Cook-Dolan, Paul Dolan and Michelle Cook from Redditch, used the app for the first time on Ward 5. Michelle said: "Technology is always changing and this is a great way to give comments about how you feel as a parent and it lets the hospital know about the great work they're doing too."
Dad Paul added: "It was really easy to download the app and give our feedback and I got a message back from the ward manager within an hour, which was great. It's good to know that someone's taking what you say seriously and is there to act on your feedback straightaway."
Developed in partnership with Digital Life Sciences, the delivery partner behind NHS Local, and supported by NHS Midlands and East, the app was trialled in two areas before being rolled out across the Trust.
Robin Vickers, Executive Director of Digital Life Sciences, said:
“At Digital Life Sciences we don’t just create digital products we transform healthcare. Technology on its own is not a solution to the challenges facing the NHS, but smart technology, supported by the changes necessary in an organisation’s processes and individuals’ behaviour, can improve patient satisfaction and ultimately save lives. That’s what the Feedback App and DLS is all about.”
The app also features a ratings function, in line with the national Friends and Family test, which enables the hospital to take an instant snapshot of how likely patients and families say they would be to recommend the hospital as a place to be treated. This information, alongside the messages and comments, is collated, reviewed and analysed to pick up any emerging themes or issues from which action can be taken.
As the first organisation to develop a feedback app of this kind, Birmingham Children’s Hospital is keen to work with other Trusts who may be interested in implementing the app in their organisations.
Michelle McLoughlin added:
“For us this is about developing a useful tool and not just a gimmick, which is why we’ve taken time to learn lessons from our pilot and make sure we have a tool which is fit for purpose. Our hopes are that other Trusts will be able to use the technology in their own settings and reap the benefits too."
For more information, please see the website: www.bch.nhs.uk/feedback
A short film about the app can also be found here: www.feedbackapp.nhslocal.nhs.uk