Busby, Michael Clive (2011)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Patient feedback was elicited from seven volunteer practices using Interactive Voice Response (IVR) methodology. A concise question set was designed to cover aspects of care, which the literature suggested were most important to patients. Three questions which allowed patients to self assess important aspects of their oral health were included. The remaining seven questions covered practice cleanliness, competence, communication and patient perceptions of value for money. Only three grades of response were permitted: ‘ideal’, ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’. Patients were invited to participate by letter. These letters were distributed by the participating practices. Survey results were presented to practices primarily using a bar chart showing only their percentage of ‘ideal’ responses to each question compared to the whole group average. Practice representatives were asked to give their feedback on the value of the instrument by telephone. The use of IVR failed to demonstrate any benefits when compared to traditional paper based surveys. A majority of dentists participating in the trial were favourably disposed to using the instrument however. With the proximity of dentist revalidation by the General Dental Council and practice licensing by the Care Quality Commission the development of instruments like this may be timely.
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