New patient experience tool provides insights to help improve care

We are asked to take surveys all the time and the appreciation and use of consumer data is higher than it has ever been.  We are polled about new products, political views or customer satisfaction—often with the promise of a small gift, such as a discount code or loyalty points.

With this in mind, imagine the insight that can be gained from understanding the patients’ perspective on the quality of their own hospital care.

A patient’s experience provides valuable information that can be used to assess the delivery of patient-centered care.  There is currently a gap in pan-Canadian patient experience data and the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) has been working to fill that void. CIHI, in collaboration with provinces, regions and facilities has developed a patient experience survey for Canadian acute care hospitals to support improvements for patients.


The survey

The Canadian Patient Experience Survey – Inpatient Care (CPES-IC) is a standardized questionnaire that enables patients to provide feedback about the quality of care they received during their most recent stay in a Canadian acute care hospital.

To date, five provinces (New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia) are using the CPES-IC and several others have expressed interest.


The tool

In August, CIHI launched the CPES: Comparative Results tool, a new secure online tool that provides comparative results for over 100 acute care hospitals from New Brunswick, Manitoba and Ontario.  The tool and will continue to expand as CIHI receives data from additional jurisdictions. CPES-IC currently holds 22 patient experience measures, such as communication with doctors, staff responsiveness and pain control, among others.

This tool was designed to support quality improvement and benchmarking across Canada. Participating organizations are able to compare hospital-level reports with peers within their region, province, and the overall average from participating facilities.

The tool has an array of functionalities so users can customize comparisons and how results are viewed. Key features include:

  • Comparative hospital-level data
  • Comparisons to natural comparators (i.e. hospital peer group, regional, and provincial averages), and customized comparisons to other hospitals
  • Creating a customized analysis that will provide additional information around potential drivers for improvement and adjusted results.

When asked about the tool, Deanna Rothwell, Manager of Performance Measurement at the Ottawa Hospital says “Another high quality product from CIHI. I really like the visual displays, the ease of choosing comparator hospitals and the ability to download the data.  I’m looking forward to seeing results roll in from across Canada so that our hospital can compare itself to other academic centres in Ontario and other provinces.”


The value

While patient surveys are not new to the health care system, this is the first standardized tool aimed at reporting comparable patient experience data in multiple jurisdictions across the country.

A participating facility can now see where patients felt they were treated with courtesy and respect by staff, or how well their care providers explained patients’ treatments to them before a procedure or leaving hospital. This first-hand information allows hospital and health system leaders to identify issues related to healthcare delivery, and strategically target efforts to inform quality improvement and the provision of patient-centred care.

Hospitals can benefit from peer-to-peer learning and best practice sharing through comparisons and benchmarking at the national level. Comparing their own results with that of their peers can help inform the benchmarks they want to hit, as they strive for the best care possible.

“Implementing the CPES-IC in Manitoba has been integral in supporting quality improvement throughout the province” said Della Beattie, Senior Policy Analyst at Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living.  “Working with CIHI has enabled us to undertake this work with confidence that it is being done to a level of rigor we could not have accomplished on our own.  We look forward to being able to share results more easily, as well as being able to make more cross-Canada comparisons as more data becomes available.”

The future

Building on CIHI’s reporting and analytics on the health system, CIHI will be expanding its work in patient reported data.

Efforts are underway to support jurisdictions in the use of CPES-IC results to drive quality improvement initiatives at the local level. CIHI is also working with stakeholders to determine how best to further expand our patient reported data program of work in other healthcare sectors, including the development of patient-reported outcome measures.

Facilities interested in implementing the CPES-IC can contact CIHI’s patient experience team at

Additional information is available at

This article was submitted by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.