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Digital Pharma: NHS extends online service comparisons

pharmafile | December 3, 2010 | News story | Medical Communications Digital Pharma blog, NHS Choices, maternity services, patient information 

The NHS has launched a new online comparison service to allow expectant parents in England to compare and rate maternity services on its official website.

It’s the latest part of a governemnt drive to allow patients to use NHS Choices to comment on all NHS healthcare services by the end of the year.

The website has allowed patient comments on hospitals since its launch three years ago, and last year extended this function to GP practices, subsequently attracting 10,000 comments in six months.

Launching the new service, which allows patients to say how highly they’d recommend the service, how well they were treated by staff and if they felt involved in decisions about their care, public health minister Anne Milton said it was vital people had enough information to make the right choice for themselves.

“The NHS should make sure that patients have some way of finding out about services they can get. Businesses and companies are increasingly using the internet to invite people to feedback their experiences and ideas. The good companies then respond to those ideas to improve how they work. NHS organisations should be doing this too,” she added.

To date the website has published more than 40,000 patient comments. All patient feedback is pre-moderated and hospital trusts and GP practices have the opportunityto post replies to individual comments.

NHS Choices says it has “encouraging evidence that trusts are using [this] feedback” to review procedures and change things that are not working.

Moving ahead there are plans to improve the site’s social network linking and allow users to rate and comment on a wide variety of NHS Choices articles.

Since its launch three years ago, NHS Choices has grown to be the most popular online health site in Europe, atracting 100 million visits in the last 12 months.

Dominic Tyer is web editor for Pharmafocus and and the author of the Digital Pharma blog He can be contacted via email, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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