Patient Opinion is the LINk’s best friend. Patient Opinion is an online depository of patient stories. The principle is nice and simple: patients post their stories about their experiences of health services (e.g. a trip to the hospital) and comment on how they found it. (N.B. Stories posted on Patient Opinion are also posted on NHS Choices, and vice versa, so there is lots of data.)
The site started off as a bit of a renegade grass-roots project, but has now been embraced by lots of (forward-thinking) NHS organisations – many of whom will add their own comments and feedback to patient’s stories. Here’s a nice simple example.
There are lots of ways that LINks can use this data. Here are my suggestions:
1. Keep an eye on what is happening in your area. The easiest way to do that is to contact them and tell them that you want to register as a LINk so that you can subscribe to local patients’ stories. (I rang them up and they were very helpful.)
2. Keep track of local trends. Part of the LINks job is to collect local data. You can keep track of trends that are being reported on Patient Opinion easily. If you are registered with them as a LINk, you can log in to the back end of the site where it says “Reports” – click this and run off the Listing Report. TA-DA, you instantly have an excel spreadsheet with another 100 patient stories for you to use when you are analysing local issues.
3. Add a Local Stories Widget to your website. This is a box of stories that will be automatically updated. Here’s one on the Westminster LINk website. This is quite easy for your friendly web-person to do by following these instructions.
Email Patient Opinion: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone Patient Opinion: 0114 281 6256