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Implementing a real time patient feedback programme

With patient experience widely accepted as one of the three key markers of quality care, alongside clinical effectiveness and safety, more health and social care providers than ever are using patient experience feedback for quality improvement.

People’s experiences offer valuable insight for providers seeking to understand where the care they provide is exceeding expectations, and where it is falling short, helping them to develop targeted improvement plans accordingly.

In 2012, Picker were commissioned by Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust to implement a real time feedback programme – an efficient and effective way of regularly capturing patient feedback. This feedback would be key in helping to inform service quality improvement across a wide range of wards and departments.

About Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust

Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust (SRFT) is a large teaching trust providing inpatient, outpatient and community services to the city of Salford, Greater Manchester and beyond. It aims to be the safest organisation in the NHS by providing safe, clean and personal care to every patient, every time.

In 2014-15 Salford Royal was rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission, becoming only the second trust in the country to earn the top rating, and the first in the North of England. Collecting real time patient feedback has been a vital part of maintaining and building on such high standards.

Our patient engagement approach

To meet SRFT’s needs, we designed a programme of real time feedback collection, primarily using Hospedia bedside entertainment units as a vehicle for patients to share their views and experiences of care services. Picker and Hospedia have worked in partnership for a number of years to support organisations looking to better understand patient experience. In this case, patient surveys were uploaded to the bedside units for patients to complete at their leisure, with pop-ups reminding them to take part if they wished to do so.

There are several key benefits of this approach, including:

  • Efficient use of existing technology – Salford Royal already had a large number of Hospedia bedside units in place, meaning reduced set-up costs and familiarity for patients
  • Low response bias – patients are able to share their opinions without an interviewer being present, eliminating any fears about giving negative feedback in the presence of staff
  • Reduces the burden on staff and volunteers – hospital staff can work where they are most valuable, rather than being tasked with collecting feedback
  • Meaningful, high quality data – patient surveys are developed with staff to aid staff engagement and to ensure relevance. All questions are phrased in a way that delivers actionable results
  • High response rates – patient engagement and participation rates are high, meaning more robust and reliable results
  • Questionnaires can be changed over time – Patient satisfaction surveys can be updated to reflect changing priorities
  • Results are available online – Picker Results makes findings available to all staff on a near real time basis, increasing engagement and supporting the implementation of timely interventions

Where bedside units were not available other methods of real time data collection were implemented.

“Collecting data using this programme is quick, cost effective and user-friendly. Results are accessible and easy to understand, and the feedback helps to assure us of where we are ‘getting it right’ for our users by delivering the appropriate level of care. It also helps us to avoid complacency by supporting us to identify areas where we need to improve, which often we’re not otherwise aware of. Regular reports enable us to monitor any improvement measures that have been introduced as a result.” Pat Clough – Professional & Operational lead for Audiology


Since beginning our partnership with SRFT, we have provided access to real time feedback mechanisms in 67 different departments. At present 16 different questionnaires are being carried out across the Trust to gather feedback about different services from A&E, community services and radiology. The average monthly response rate is 30%, which represents an impressive figure for real time patient data collection.

Since 2013, 317 staff members have used Picker Results to understand and track feedback. Ward Matrons and Service Managers can look at their team’s results for detailed feedback, while Senior Managers and Executives can look at high level percentages and RAG ratings for assurance around improvement. The data is also used to inform the Patient, Family and Carer Experience Collaborative, which brings staff from across the Trust together to reflect on their results and share good practice.

Working with organisations to develop and monitor improvement plans is a fundamental aspect of our real time feedback programme and SRFT has demonstrated a strong commitment to this, introducing initiatives such as What Matters Most to Me as part of their quality improvement strategy. This initiative focusses entirely on improving patient experience, measured using their real time feedback solution. During 2014-15 ward staff were able to meet or exceed the 80% target.

For further information on this project, or to find out how we can support your patient experience objectives please contact

Click here to download a PDF version of this case study.

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