Development and Application of an Indicator for Reliable Survey of Patient Complaint Data

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 Student Research Committee, Iranian Center of Excellence in Health Management, Department of Health Service Management, School of Health Services Management and Medical Informatics, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

2 Tabriz Health Services Management Research Center, Department of Health Services Management, School of Health Management and Medical Informatics, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

3 Road and Traffic Injury Research Center, Department of Statistics and Epidemiology, Faculty of Health, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

4 Department of Health Services Management, School of Health Management and Medical Informatics, Student Research Committee, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

5 Treatment Affair Office, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

Abstract

Background and Objectives: Data on patient complains can be used as a feedback to improve the quality of healthcare services. The aim of this study was to develop an indicator for reliable retrieval of statistical data on patient complaints.   Methods: A triangulated study was conducted. A comprehensive literature review was done to identifying the relevant major themes. Two-rounds of Delphi sessions (8 experts were in attendance) and two panel meetings were held to refine and approve the themes. The obtained indicator was then used to collect patient complaint statistics from selected hospitals.   Findings: A ten-item indicator of patient complaints was developed and used to survey patient complaints in Tabriz City (Northwestern Iran). Of the total 6958 complaints registered in Tabriz hospitals, 83.9% were made by inpatients and 82.5% were resolved in the hospitals. The rate of complaints was found to be 2.95 per 1000 referrals. Only 36% of hospitals had a written policy to use the complaints in quality improvement initiatives.    Conclusions: Application of the developed indicator revealed that the hospitals of Tabriz city are face with a relatively high rate of complaints when compared with the average rate in the literature. While the fact that majority of complaints are resolved in the hospital is promising, measure should be taken to encourage hospitals to use the complaints data in enhancing quality of services.

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