Learning from patient experiences of projection imaging through the use of online feedback platforms

Preston, Scott and Harvey-Lloyd, Jane (2023). Learning from patient experiences of projection imaging through the use of online feedback platforms. Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences, 54(1) pp. 73–82.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmir.2022.11.009

Abstract

Projection radiography remains a well-used diagnostic tool in healthcare, and its use is continually increasing. The volume of feedback collected from patients has grown exponentially but is rarely analysed within the service to meaningfully underpin change. Professions such as nursing currently make use of patient feedback during training yet there is comparatively little use in diagnostic radiography. Research exists into the use of social media during radiotherapy treatment, highlighting how it could be embraced in future research. However, there remains a sparsity of publications discussing the experiences of patients with projection radiography despite its prominence within diagnostic imaging. Online platforms for feedback are available to most industries and readily embraced and used. They are also becoming increasingly available to healthcare providers. This study aimed to assess and analyse the patient experience of projection radiography using the stories of patients via an online platform.

Methodology

Recognising that humans do not experience healthcare in a binary way, the authors selected a narrative method as the most appropriate qualitative methodology to analyse and understand 181 patient stories relating to projection radiography from the Care Opinion UK website. Each story was read three times to establish codes and themes and to ensure author familiarity with the patient's words & descriptions. This resulted in 30 empirical codes with the most frequently used being split into three major themes for discussion.

Results & conclusion

The three major themes considered the radiography experience, the encounter with professionals and service provision. Online sources of feedback provide valuable data for health researchers and provide access to insights which might otherwise go unconsidered. Patients instinctively perceive radiological examinations to result in delays to their care and report surprise when discovering examinations are delivered swiftly, though it remains that innovations such as radiographer-led discharge could be better utilised to enhance the patient experience. In addition, it is evident that administrative functions in diagnostic radiology departments are considered poor and from the descriptions given in the study by patients, the administrative side of the service does not meet their needs. Patient stories demonstrate that radiography is not perceived as vital to patient care and is frequently devalued through the notion that health professions are limited to medical doctor and nurse. The work of radiographers is not valueless to the patient evidenced by their desire to thank staff for their work, but its value is poorly understood and could be further enhanced by embracing online feedback as part of continuing professional and service development.

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