Patient experience – its importance in France

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Patient experience – its importance in France

Patient experience – its importance in France

Author Meopin - 5 February 2019

Importance of patient experience

The French Institute for patient experience (Institut français de l’expérience patient) conducted in 2018 a barometer amongst 886 people working in medicosocial institutions and other health sector organisations. Mainly organisations that belonged to public and private non-profit sectors participated in the barometer.  The Institute is an independent non-profit organization  dealing with health and medico-social. The results were announced on 24 January 2019.

What is patient experience?

All the interactions and situations experienced by a person that is likely to influence his/her perception during their health journey constitutes the patient experience. These interactions are shaping the attitudes of the different stakeholders involved but also their individual stories and how much they care.

The daily patient experience

The patient experience is made up of small and big things that impact the patient experience:

  • The reduction of the anxiety of hospitalization, by an organization that gives more visibility to interventions throughout the patient’s journey
  • Better care-giving facilities, especially for people with chronic diseases, who sometimes become experts in life with the disease
  • A responsive organization that adjusts to patient expectations, a pro-active organization that stimulates the construction of practical solutions with the help of patients
  • Innovative technologies that benefit patients and their loved ones (visual identification of the team of caregivers, geoguiding to places of consultation..)

For healthcare in Europe, the aim is to build a health system that is less scary, less condescending, more approachable, more practical and where people listen more.

A reference study in France

It is established that patients care about the type of experience they go through at healthcare facilities but do the facilities realise the importance of this experience?

The institute interviewed doctors, directors, paramedics, medical-technical staff executives from the sanitary and medico-social sector. The study wanted to get answers to the following questions:

– What is the place of patients and their experience in institutional strategy?

– What is the degree of maturity of the subject in health and social institutions?

– How does governance adapt to better address this issue?

– What is the perceived impact of the patient experience on the quality of the service provided and the organization of the facilities?

– What are the levers of development and the brakes encountered

The study had 3 primary goals:

– Measure the evolution of the dynamics in France vs international

– Analyze the appropriation by professionals of the levers of the improvement of the patient experience

– Develop recommendations to speed up practice


Half of the participants who were interviewed (healthcare teams and administration) spend more than 20% of their working time with patients / accompanied persons. The sample is balanced between back-office professionals and professionals in contact with patients (2/3 of whom spend more than half of their time with patients)

At least 45% of the participants had not heard about the concept of patient experience before the study. 67% of professionals working in clinics know the term “patient experience” versus 55% of all respondents. It was found that the term “patient experience” has emerged in the health care circles over the last 3 years.

Do these healthcare facilities have a patient experience policy? 21% of institutions in France have nothing done so far compared to 1% in the world. 41% are just starting compared to 18% in the world. 31% of institutions in France have a policy in place compared to 55% in the world and 7% have a well established policy compared to 26% in the world. This indicates a clear delay in the deployment of patient experience in France.

The participants believe that patient experience includes the following except for costs involved:

  • Relationship to patients and accompanied persons (73% of respondents)
  • The quality of care/ support (71 %9
  • Safety of patients and accompanying people (63%)
  • Involvement of patients/accompanying people and families (62%)
  • Engagement of the personnel (52%)
  • Costs involved (11%)

78% of the participants said that there wasn’t a department in their establishment taking care of the patient experience or they didn’t know of the existence of such a division. If there are teams with patient experience as their specific task, then these teams were really small.

The top 3 factors that drove an institution to take action to improve patient experience were:

  1. the desire to improve the health of patients, accompanied persons
  2. the need for better cooperation with other health actors in the territory
  3. the will to do well

French professionals were more motivated by the improvement of the health of the people and less by the external evaluation or the support of hierarchy. But it is also interesting to note that human resources and budgetary issues were the main obstacles to developing a patient-centric approach in these establishments.  A positive culture in the establishment where the voice of the patient and their families are taken into account will be a key driver in improving patient experience in the future. Institutions feel they need to invest more in training and developing their staff, improving their working conditions and give greater consideration to patients and their families. The good news is that 96% of the participants were willing to contribute to patient experience improvement projects in their facility.

These results were an eye opener and gave an overview of how the industry views the concept of patient experience. With a dedicated strategy and management support, the movement should be encouraged to accelerate towards improving the patient experience.

Meopin offers its expertise to help providers implement the patient experience concept in their practice. Write to us to find out more.





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