The Zuid-Afrikaans Hospital has been in Berea Street, Muckleneuk, for over a century and has been listed as one of the top 20 hospitals in the country.  Picture: African News Agency (ANA)
The Zuid-Afrikaans Hospital has been in Berea Street, Muckleneuk, for over a century and has been listed as one of the top 20 hospitals in the country. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

#ConsumerWatch: How well does your doctor or hospital rate?

By Georgina Crouth Time of article published Jul 22, 2019

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How happy are you with your medical practitioner? When last were you  admitted to hospital? And how were  you treated?  These are questions Discovery  Health has aimed to answer in its latest  annual list of 20 leading South African  hospitals – as rated by patients in the  annual Patient Survey Score (PaSS).

It’s the fifth such survey that the  company’s published but the ninth  year that it’s conducted the research,  undertaken to get a broad overview  of the sector.

The Top 20 list is based on aggregated surveys which were completed  by members of schemes administered  by Discovery Health. Members rated  their in-hospital experience across various aspects of care.  Last year’s PaSS  list, which is modelled on a globally  validated survey, reveals five newcomers and five hospitals appearing  for the fifth consecutive year. 

Last  year, Discovery Health received about  63 000 survey responses from patients  admitted to 202 hospitals across the  country.

Dr Roshini Moodley Naidoo, head  of quality of care at Discovery Health,  says they’re encouraged by the annual  increase in patient participation in  the survey after their discharge from  hospital. “In 2018, 19% of Discovery members who received the survey  submitted a response, up from 14%  in 2014.”

She says patients’ voices are being  heard and they’re powerful: they have  influence over how care is delivered.

“PaSS creates a systematic and  standardised way to capture information about a patient’s experience of  care in hospital.

“These results are then shared with  members on Discovery’s website, creating transparency and driving positive  change by helping health-care providers identify gaps that need attention,”  says Moodley Naidoo.
The survey looked at how well  nursing staff and doctors engage and  communicate with patients; how well  suited the hospital environment is 
to the needs of patients (eg are noise  levels kept to a minimum); how well  pain is managed; how clearly information about medication is shared with  patients; whether patients are adequately prepared for discharge (e.g. are  they given information about symptoms to look out for that may indicate  a need to see the doctor again); and  an overall hospital rating including  whether patients would recommend  the hospital to others.

Moodley Naidoo says last year’s  results show an improvement in five  out of the eight survey categories,  with the remaining three categories  showing very minimal drops. 

“We’re pleased to note that overall  Patient Survey Scores have improved  by 19% since we began publishing  results in 2014, clearly showing that  hospitals surveyed are increasingly  meeting patient expectations of better  care. Running the survey and publishing the results annually, has the  same positive impact in our healthcare environment as observed internationally.”

She says the categories that patients  care about most are how nurses communicate and engage with patients,  information about medicine and managing pain.

All of these categories delivered  higher scores last year: “We believe the  survey has a positive impact beyond  in-hospital care, as patients who are  well prepared for discharge from hospital have better health outcomes and  are at lower risk of repeat admissions.  This is an important area of focus  as repeat admissions are, on a global  level, considered a warning sign of a  care gap,” explains Moodley Naidoo.

Doctors are central to best quality  care, and patients have rated doctors  the highest out of all survey categories.  In each subsequent year, the doctor  scores have continued to increase  and last year the doctor category was  scored by patients at 85.7%.

Moodley Naidoo says they wanted to improve quality of care for patients  from the doctor and hospital by looking at it through a clinical lens.

“This gives them a voice in how  health care is designed and improved.  It’s about patient centricity – not putting a premium on the funder (Discovery) but creating space to make certain  that patients see that as high-quality  care.

“For Discovery, we contract on the  basis of value. We see it as being driven  by different components of care – cost  is only one aspect – and actual value  in the system. It helps us put together  the network of care.”

For patients, the survey is an effective and empowering decision-making  tool, she says.

“So, if you have elective surgery,  you might want a choice of hospitals  – you can look at what they do well,  where there is room for improvement.
It’s very important for patients where  the doctors are.”

The PaSS survey though, is not a  name and shame exercise – “you don’t  drive improvement that way”.  It’s important for consumers. In the
medical aid environment, there aren’t  many such mechanisms that empower  patients, so Discovery’s listing three  years of data on its website, gives hospitals a better opportunity to improve.

The Top 20
  • Ahmed Al-Kadi Private Hospital
  • Busamed Gateway Private Hospital
  • Busamed Hillcrest Private Hospital
  • Busamed Lowveld Hospital
  • Busamed Modderfontein Private Hospital
  • Busamed Paardevlei Private Hospital
  • Cormed Clinic
  • Lenmed Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre
  • Lenmed Shifa Hospital
  • Life Bay View Private Hospital
  • Mediclinic Hoogland
  • Mediclinic Panorama
  • Mediclinic Plettenberg Bay
  • Mediclinic Strand
  • Mediclinic Victoria
  • Mediclinic Worcester
  • Melomed Bellville Medical Centre
  • Midlands Medical Centre
  • Moot Algemene Hospital
  • Zuid-Afrikaans Hospital

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