Improving Patient Experience in Hospital Settings: Assessing the Role of Toolkits and Action Research Through a Process Evaluation of a Complex Intervention

Thomas Mills, Rebecca Lawton, Laura Sheard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article presents a process evaluation of the implementation and refinement of a patient experience toolkit (PET) by action researchers in six hospital wards in the English National Health Service (NHS). An initial assumption that health care professionals (HCPs) would use PET to improve patient experience proved unrealistic due to staff and service pressures. However, the action researchers' facilitation of PET and their support during the implementation of quality improvement efforts filled in for HCPs' lack of time. The findings suggest that the PET can be a successful guide for skilled facilitators working with HCPs, although excessive staff pressures should be avoided. Toolkits designed for implementation by HCPs should, therefore, be used sparingly; a more appropriate target audience may be facilitators. Furthermore, while the potential of action research is confirmed by this evaluation, HCPs' time to engage in service improvement is found to moderate the success of this increasingly prominent methodology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2108-2118
Number of pages11
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number14
Early online date16 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

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