The work was prompted by concerns raised by patients about the Connect Health Musculoskeletal Service in West Hertfordshire in late 2019.
In July 2020 following a number of changes made to improve the service, and services moving to telephone/virtual appointments due to the pandemic, Connect Health asked us to review the PhysioLine service via a mystery shopping exercise, and to gather patient experience on their Wolsey House Health Clinic.
What we did
So that our volunteers could mystery shop the service, Connect Health had to create 2 ‘dummy’ health records to put into the system as referrals so that our volunteers could use them to test the admin function and the clinical service.
The Mystery shop exercise was testing out how quickly phone calls are answered, how easy it is to book and change an appointment, friendliness of the staff, how a physio consultation works on the telephone and what support is available after the appointment.
The calls took place over the first 2 weeks in November 2020.
We also designed a questionnaire to be completed by patients attending the Wolsey House clinic, Hemel Hempstead during November 2020 to find out what their experience of the service has been like. Patients were also given the option of contacting HwH by telephone or online if they preferred to give feedback in that way.
What we found
- Overall our volunteers had very positive experiences of the Connect Health PhysioLine service both with the booking of the appointments and with the clinical telephone consultation and the expertise of the clinician.
- Some improvements could be made to the telephone assessment including ensuring patients are well prepared for the telephone appointment, ensuring that patients are given enough time to answer the telephone and that telephone answer messages left for patients are clear about the timing of call backs.
- Patients completing the clinic questionnaires generally had a good experience with the service. Many were highly complementary of the health professionals at Connect Health and their GP or consultant who referred them.
- Some patients commented that they wanted more detailed workout plans with what level of pain is likely to be experienced.
- Patients who had had their treatment interrupted by the pandemic told us they would have valued more information from health professionals about when their care would resume.