Measuring the patient experience

Our health care system can learn a lot from patients. One way to find out what’s working well and where we can do better is to simply ask them.

Since 2007, the Health Quality Council (HQC) has been supporting our system partners in surveying patients about their health care experiences.  We continue to work with the health system to encourage patient surveying in multiple care settings.

In 2016, health regions assumed local ownership of the survey process, which has provided them with more timely access to information from surveying and increased their measurement capability. As part of our role in building capacity to understand patient experience through measurement, we are also expanding and diversifying the way we hear the patient voice -- to move beyond surveying to experienced-based design. 

As well, a Care Experience Measurement Working Group has been formed within the Patient- and Family-Centred Care (PFCC) Guiding Coalition, to support continued application of patient surveying in Saskatchewan. This group brings together measurement experts, clinical leaders, and patient advisors to build the tools and processes to capture the patient perspective.

HQC plays a lead role with this group in developing patient surveys that meet health system needs. Since creating, in collaboration with our partners, the acute care survey in 2011, we subsequently developed surveys for primary care, and long-term care. 

Tools our health system is using to listen to patients

Acute care unit-level survey

The acute care unit-level patient experience survey is a standardized questionnaire that captures the experience of care from the patient’s point of view. HQC collaborated with representatives of health organizations across the province in the development and pilot testing of this survey.

The survey has been designed for individual acute care units to implement on their own as part of their efforts to improve patient experience. Because it is standardized, the survey can also be used by entire facilities or health regions as part of a coordinated strategy.

To support regions in processing their own surveys, HQC created a user-friendly tool in Microsoft Excel that generates graphs based on data entered. We’ve also developed a how-to guide called the Getting Started Toolkit, which walks you through all the steps essential for successful surveying, from set up, through to communicating results, and using the information to drive improvements. The Getting Started Toolkit contains many tools and examples from across the province.

The content of the acute care unit-level patient experience survey is approved by Accreditation Canada. However, Regional Health Authorities that wish to use the survey for accreditation purposes still need to submit their data collection plan to their Accreditation Canada surveyor for approval.

Mental health and addictions outpatient services survey

To support improvements in mental health and addictions outpatient care, HQC – in collaboration with health organizations and patient and family advisors – has developed a mental health and addictions outpatient services survey. The survey is been designed for use on units that offer these services on an outpatient basis. It can be used in whole or in part.

To help managers analyze survey results, HQC has created a user-friendly tool in Microsoft Excel that generates graphs based on the data entered. We have also developed a how-to guide called the Getting Started Toolkit, which walks you through all the steps essential for successful surveying, from set up, through to communicating results, and using the information to drive improvements. The Getting Started Toolkit contains many tools and examples from across the province.

Primary health care survey

To support improvement in primary health care, HQC has developed surveys that can be given to patients in primary care practices, primary health care sites, public health sites, or chronic disease management programs.

We offer two surveys: a short version (five questions) and a long version (11 questions). Teams can choose the survey that best meets their facility’s needs, then use the results to inform ongoing improvement efforts.

The content of the long version of the primary health care patient experience survey has been approved by Accreditation Canada. Regional Health Authorities who wish to use the survey for accreditation purposes will still need to submit their data collection plan to their Accreditation Canada surveyor for approval. The short version of the primary health care patient experience survey is not approved by Accreditation Canada, as it does not address all of the required dimensions of care.

Since 2016, health regions and clinics have been processing their own primary health care patient experience surveys. This local ownership of the survey process ensures regions/clinics have more timely access to patient experience information and increases their measurement capability. To support this work, HQC created a user-friendly tool in Microsoft Excel that generates graphs based on the survey data entered.

We’ve also developed a how-to guide called the Getting Started Toolkit, which walks you through all the steps essential for successful surveying, from set up, through to communicating results, and using the information to drive improvements. The Getting Started Toolkit contains many tools and examples from across the province.

Long-term care survey

We are gathering input from long-term care residents and their families using a standardized provincial survey launched in 2017. The information will guide improvements efforts in this care setting. 

The content of the LTC resident experience survey is approved by Accreditation Canada. Any facility or Regional Health Authority who wish to use the survey for accreditation purposes will still need to submit their data collection plan to their Accreditation Canada surveyor for approval.

Resources & Downloads: Long-term care survey


Patient surveying tools in development

HQC is committed to developing tools that help capture patients’ experiences with care in Saskatchewan. We are leading the Care Experience Measurement Working Group, which is developing a number of new surveys. 

Latest news: How our health care system is doing

For more information about our work to measure and report on how Saskatchewan's health care system is doing, please contact