A systematic review of evidence on the links between patient experience and clinical safety and effectiveness
Objective: To explore evidence on the links between patient experience and clinical safety and effectiveness outcomes. Design: Systematic review. Setting: A wide range of settings within primary and secondary care including hospitals and primary care centres. Participants: A wide range of demographic groups and age groups. Primary and secondary outcome measures: A broad range of patient safety and clinical effectiveness outcomes including mortality, physical symptoms, length of stay and adherence to treatment. Results: This study, summarising evidence from 55 studies, indicates consistent positive associations between patient experience, patient safety and clinical effectiveness for a wide range of disease areas, settings, outcome measures and study designs. It demonstrates positive associations between patient experience and self-rated and objectively measured health outcomes; adherence to recommended clinical practice and medication; preventive care (such as health-promoting behaviour, use of screening services and immunisation); and resource use (such as hospitalisation, length of stay and primary-care visits). There is some evidence of positive associations between patient experience and measures of the technical quality of care and adverse events. Overall, it was more common to find positive associations between patient experience and patient safety and clinical effectiveness than no associations. Conclusions The data presented display that patient experience is positively associated with clinical effectiveness and patient safety, and support the case for the inclusion of patient experience as one of the central pillars of quality in healthcare. It supports the argument that the three dimensions of quality should be looked at as a group and not in isolation. Clinicians should resist sidelining patient experience as too subjective or mood-oriented, divorced from the ‘real’ clinical work of measuring safety and effectiveness.