Patient Survey is 'reliable and valid', say researchers

The GP Patient Survey is a reliable and valid way of providing financial incentives to doctors, latest research suggests.

The findings come as practices across the UK witness a drop in QOF scores, blamed largely on the poor uptake rate for the patient surveys.

But this latest study found little evidence that poor uptake would result in any systematic disadvantage to practices.

The two questions which triggered payments to GPs were reliable measures of practice performance, say the researchers.

In total, 97% of practices achieved the 90% threshold for reliability for these two questions.

For the 3% of practices with insufficient responses needed to meet this threshold, the researchers suggest that larger numbers of patients from these practices should be sampled in future rounds of the survey.

The researchers, led by Professor Martin Rowland at the University of Manchester,  concluded: ‘Patient reported measures of quality are an important aspect of care, and the GP Patient Survey represents a major opportunity to improve care on a national scale.

‘None the less, additional refinements of the measurement or compensation process and ongoing dialogue with practising doctors will be essential if the survey is to play an important role in improving in patient experience in the UK.'


Sanjay Tanday recommends

BMJ Online 2009

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