WEDNESDAY, June 12, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Many health care providers in the United Kingdom have little direct experience with online feedback, rarely encourage it, and often view it as having little value for improving the quality of health services, according to a study published online June 2 in the Journal of Health Services Research & Policy.

Helen Atherton, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, and colleagues surveyed 1,001 registered doctors and 749 nurses and midwives involved in direct patient care in the United Kingdom to assess providers’ attitudes, characteristics, and self-reported behaviors toward online feedback from their patients and caregivers.

The researchers found that just 27.7 percent of doctors and 21 percent of nurses were aware that patients/caregivers had provided online feedback about an episode of care in which they were involved. Providers viewed feedback on reviews/ratings sites as more useful to improving services than social media feedback. Nurses viewed both types of feedback as more useful than did doctors. Hospital-based professionals viewed feedback as more useful compared with those based in community settings. Doctors were more likely than nurses to believe that online feedback is unrepresentative and more negative in tone. Most providers never encouraged patients or their caregivers to leave online feedback.

“The findings have implications for policy and practice in how online patient feedback is solicited and acted upon,” the authors write.

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