NSW Patient Survey data now available on SURE

The Bureau of Health Information (BHI) is making NSW Patient Survey datasets available in SURE for use by researchers and policy analysts to inform improvements in patients’ experiences and outcomes.

Each month, thousands of people in NSW share their recent experiences with the public healthcare system as part of the NSW Patient Survey Program, which BHI runs on behalf of NSW Health. Since 2010, BHI has been a trusted provider of independent healthcare performance information in NSW.

The Program is NSW Health’s principal source of robust and representative information about patients’ self-reported healthcare experiences and outcomes. It is a rich source of data, with more than 10 years of feedback collected from more than 650,000 patients about their experiences of care at more than 200 healthcare facilities across the state.

Patients provide feedback through core Adult Admitted Patient and Emergency Department Patient surveys, while patients’ experiences of other services – such as virtual care, outpatient cancer clinics and rural and regional facilities – are collected periodically.

Given the robustness of the data, it is possible to undertake analyses by different population groups. The asset has a particularly rich collection of data on Aboriginal patient experience, currently including over 12,000 Aboriginal Adult Admitted Patient respondents, and close to 6,000 Aboriginal Emergency Department patients. Other population groups well represented include, but are not limited to, patients who speak a language other than English at home and patients with chronic health conditions.

The majority of respondents provide consent to link their questionnaire responses to other health information datasets. For this cohort of patients, BHI has linked survey responses to information captured on the corresponding administrative record, which includes clinical information about the episode. Further linkages are possible and planned.

NSW Patient Survey Program data may be used to unlock the answers to many questions of high clinical and policy relevance, such as:

  • Whose experiences are improving or declining, and in what areas?
  • What are the drivers of positive patient experience, and how do these vary for different cohorts or services?
  • What associations are there between patients’ experiences and their health outcomes, and how does this vary for different cohorts or services?
  • How are vulnerable populations experiencing the health system, and how does this impact their clinical outcomes?

BHI is encouraging researchers to submit proposals for projects using this data that will contribute to improving patients’ experiences and outcomes – a key NSW Health system priority. After SURE workspace fees, access to the data is free, and some funding is available to cover SURE fees. Any resulting findings will be shared within NSW Health to inform health system reform and improvement.