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Comparison of patients’ assessments of the quality of stroke care with audit findings
  1. Esther Howell1,
  2. Chris Graham1,
  3. A Hoffman2,
  4. D Lowe2,
  5. Christopher McKevitt3,
  6. Rachel Reeves4,
  7. A G Rudd2
  1. 1
    Picker Institute Europe, Oxford, England
  2. 2
    Clinical Effectiveness and Evaluation Unit, Royal College of Physicians, London, England
  3. 3
    Division of Health and Social Care Research, King’s College London, London, England
  4. 4
    Independent research consultant, Oxford, England
  1. Dr Esther Howell, Picker Institute Europe, King’s Mead House, Oxpens Road, Oxford OX1 1RX, England; Esther.Howell{at}


Objective: To determine the extent of correlation between stroke patients’ experiences of hospital care with the quality of services assessed in a national audit.

Methods: Patients’ assessments of their care derived from survey data were linked to data obtained in the National Sentinel Stroke Audit 2004 for 670 patients in 51 English NHS trusts. A measure of patients’ experience of hospital stroke care was derived by summing responses to 31 survey items and grouping these into three broad concept domains: quality of care; information; and relationships with staff. Audit data were extracted from hospital admissions data and management information to assess the organisation of services, and obtained retrospectively from patient records to evaluate the delivery of care. Patient survey responses were compared with audit measures of organisation of care and compliance with clinical process standards.

Results: Patient experience scores were positively correlated with clinicians’ assessment of the organisational quality of stroke care, but were largely unrelated to clinical process standards. Responses to individual questions regarding communication about diagnosis revealed a discrepancy between clinicians’ and patients’ reports.

Conclusions: Better organised stroke care is associated with more positive patient experiences. Examining areas of disparity between patients’ and clinicians’ reports is important for understanding the complex nature of healthcare and for identifying areas for quality improvement. Future evaluations of the quality of stroke services should include a validated patient experience survey in addition to audit of clinical records.

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  • Funding: The Healthcare Commission funded both the 2004 National Sentinel Audit of Stroke and the stroke patient survey.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Abbreviations:
    Intercollegiate Stroke Working Party
    National Service Framework

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