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Patient stories are a continuous improvement tool which help identify areas where we need to improve the quality of services and transform patient and carer experience, through listening and learning from the patient voice.
Patient stories can be positive, negative, or combine elements of both. Through patient stories we capture evidence of the quality of services, share the learning about what was good and what needs to be improved with the clinical teams, who then take forward any improvements identified together.
A patient story is a rich source of feedback because it provides a detailed account of what the patient experienced at different points of their healthcare journey.
Unlike patient surveys, patient stories are collected face-to-face with the patient and therefore provide an opportunity to ask for more information or clarity where needed about what the patient experienced, to help to identify where improvements can be made.
Because a patient story captures the patient's experiences from their point of view, it helps put ourselves in the patient's shoes and enable us to focus on what matters most to the patient.
The idea is to gain an understanding of the healthcare experience of the storyteller. Collectively, stories can help us build a picture of what it is like to be a service user.
In 2015/16, we collected over 250 patient stories from across our services. Patient stories are shared anonymously in the following ways where the patient gives appropriate consent:
If you would like to tell us the story of your experiences with our healthcare services, please contact us either by contacting our PALS team by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the team on 0800 368 0412.
All patient stories are anonymised (i.e. you will not be identified at any point), and you will be asked to sign a consent form beforehand to agree where your story can be shared, for example:
You can withdraw your consent at any stage of the process for any reason.
Once you are happy to tell your story, a member of our staff will arrange to meet you at a mutually convenient date and time to hear your story. This conversation will be recorded on a dictaphone to allow it to be easily transcribed and then the recording will be permanently deleted. The anonymised patient story transcript will not be placed on your medical record and will be stored securely as feedback by our Patient Experience Team.
Patient stories can be captured directly onto film where the patient consents to being identified and to their story being shared outside the organisation on our website and social media channels. Video stories can be powerful tools when services are thinking about service improvements.
Some recent examples:
'Dynamic Patient Stories' is a project aimed at improving the accessibility of the patient stories process for patients with learning disabilities, younger patients, patients with speech and language impediments and End of Life patients or their relatives or carers.
The project also aims to empower patients to take greater ownership of their story by communicating it through creative means, such as video, storyboard, photography or captioned collage.