Towards a New Era of Care: Optimizing the Patient Experience through Innovation & Active Listening

Bruno Barbe
Share this article

In a world where the patient experience has become a key indicator of quality of care, healthcare establishments are under increasing pressure to innovate and adopt patient-centric approaches.

Active listening is emerging as a key method for capturing and responding to patients' needs throughout their medical journey. This article highlights how +700 health and social care facilities, in partnership with Better World, have implemented proactive listening strategies to significantly improve quality of care and patient satisfaction.

By integrating these practices, they not only meet expectations, but work to anticipate future needs, ensuring continuous improvement that meets and exceeds standards of care.

Part 1: Understanding thePatient Experience

Defining the Patient Experience

The patient experience is the sum total of interactions and situations experienced by patients and those around them throughout their care journey. It encompasses not only the patient-medical team relationship, but also pre- and post-consultation or hospitalization interactions.

The 3 Axes of Patient Experience development

It's an approach that requires careful attention to the physical environment, to processes, and above all, to the people involved.

  1. People (approx. 60% of verbatims studied): The quality of human interaction, empathy and professionalism of staff are at the heart of the patient experience.
  2. The Patient Journey (approx. 25-30% of verbatims studied): Smooth, clear administrative and medical procedures, and efficient care paths are essential for a smooth experience.
  3. Le Lieu (<10% des verbatims étudiés) : L’aménagement des espaces, le confort, l'accessibilité, et la signalétique jouent un rôle primordial dans la perception et le bien-être du patient.

The 9 dimensions of the Patient Experience

There are also other ways of breaking down the patient experience to gain a more detailed view. These include the nine dimensions defined by the National Health Service:

  • respect for the patient's needs and preferences,
  • service coordination and integration,
  • information, communication and education,
  • physical comfort,
  • emotional support,
  • the involvement of families and loved ones,
  • continuity and transition of care,
  • access to care,
  • general appreciation of the establishment.

Part 2: Improving by Listening, Acting for Impact

Active Listening as a means of improving the patient experience

Active listening is the cornerstone of improving the patient experience. It transcends the simple collection of feedback to become a truly strategic tool. Actively listening to patients and caregivers not only enables us to measure satisfaction, but also to proactively identify needs, continuously improve services, and ensure that facilities comply with the highest standards of care.

Implementing an effective listening system requires a methodical breakdown of the stages in the patient journey and a comprehensive collection of feedback. This includes the exploration of online feedback, reception, treatment stages, and post-treatment follow-up.

Methods for setting up an Active Listening system

Faced with an impressive volume of 5,000 to 20,000 patient verbatims per year in an average hospital, a robust collection and analysis strategy becomes crucial.

Better World has helped more than 700 health and social care facilities set up active listening systems, using a variety of methods to continuously capture patients' perceptions and experiences throughout their care journey. Let's take a closer look at these key methods:

1. Questionnaires and Surveys

  • Guided questionnaires: Send directed (classic) questionnaires after each visit or treatment. Examples include discharge questionnaires, the PREMS or PROMS questionnaire, or various internal survey questionnaires.
  • Open-ended questionnaires: These open formats allow patients to express themselves freely about their experience, providing valuable qualitative feedback that complements the quantitative data from directed surveys.

Nb: Alternate between directed questionnaires, for quantifiable answers, and open formats allowing qualitative feedback, for a deeper understanding of lived experiences.

2. Interactive Technologies

  • Feedback terminals: Install interactive terminals in key traffic areas (entrance hall, waiting rooms, exits) to gather spontaneous feedback.
  • Collection applications: Develop or integrate collection applications enabling patients to give feedback in real time, preferably with options for anonymous feedback.

3. Interviews and focus groups

  • Individual interviews: Conduct face-to-face or telephone interviews with patients after their course of treatment, particularly targeting those with extreme experiences (very positive or negative).
  • Focus groups: Organize sessions with groups of patients to discuss their experiences, facilitated by a professional trained in active listening. This can help draw out key elements on specific aspects of the patient experience.

4. Shadowing

  • Accompanying the patient: Involve staff members or external consultants in monitoring the patient's journey through the facility, from arrival to departure, to observe interactions directly and identify friction points.
  • Patient-tracer: Patient-tracer is a specific approach in which a real patient pathway is followed retrospectively, from admission through all stages of treatment to discharge. This method makes it possible to trace the patient's complete path through the various departments and points of contact, offering a complete view of the continuity and quality of care.

5. Analysis of Social Media and Online Reviews

  • Active intelligence: Use social media analysis tools to monitor and analyze mentions and reviews on public platforms such as Google My Business, social networks and specialized forums. This allows you to capture spontaneous and unsolicited feedback.

6. Employee feedback

  • Internal feedback: Encourage staff in direct contact with patients to share their observations and feedback gathered informally. This can be facilitated by regular meetings or internal feedback platforms.
  • Collection applications for care teams: Develop or integrate collection applications enabling your teams to give feedback in real time, preferably with options for anonymous feedback.

7. Integration of AI Technology for Data Analysis

  • Advanced Analysis Tools: Adopt AI-based technology solutions such as Better World to analyze collected data on a large scale. This includes sentiment analysis, comment categorization, and trend identification, enabling in-depth understanding of feedback data.

Key Steps to Improve by Listening

  1. Defining contact points: The first step is to carefully map all points of contact between the patient and the facility. This identification must encompass all possible interactions, whether digital (online appointment booking, virtual consultations), physical (reception, consultation, hospitalization), or human (exchanges with nursing staff, administrative support). The aim is to create a complete vision of the patient journey, so as to be able to effectively target areas for improvement.
  2. Feedback on team needs: This stage is essential to ensure that the listening systems put in place meet the needs of both patients and healthcare teams. It involves gathering and analyzing feedback from healthcare professionals who are in direct contact with patients. By integrating their perspectives and experiences, we can better understand the challenges encountered and the opportunities for improvement. It also enables teams to be actively involved in the improvement process, strengthening their commitment and motivation.
  3. Collecting Feedback every step of the way :
    • Online: Use post-interaction surveys sent by email or via mobile applications.
    • On-site: Set up interactive terminals or QR codes to collect feedback at reception, in elevators, rooms or leisure areas.
    • During treatment: Encourage caregivers to solicit verbal feedback and observe non-verbal reactions.
    • Getting started: Offer feedback cards to fill in or QR codes to scan to leave a review online.
    • Post-treatment follow-up: Send follow-up questionnaires in addition to discharge questionnaires to assess continuity of care and overall satisfaction.
  4. Feedback analysis: Use text and sentiment analysis tools to process detailed feedback and identify trends. This extracts accurate qualitative and quantitative data, highlighting strengths and areas for improvement.
  5. Set up Working Groups: Create multidisciplinary teams to analyze feedback, propose improvements and implement changes. These groups should include representatives from all levels of the organization to ensure an overview (CME, CSIRMT, expert patients, etc.).
  6. Creation of an improvement plan: Creation of a structuring document combining in-depth analysis of the data collected, identification of key priorities, definition of specific objectives, and detailed planning of the actions to be undertaken. This plan must also specify the allocation of necessary resources and define monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to ensure continuous improvement in service quality.
  7. Training and awareness: Develop ongoing training programs for staff, focusing on the importance of active listening and best practices for gathering and acting on patient feedback.
  8. Transparent communication: Regularly inform patients and staff of improvements made in response to feedback. This can be done via newsletters, displays in the facility, or updates on the website and social networks.
  9. Impact assessment: Measure the effectiveness of implemented actions by tracking key indicators such as patient satisfaction, NPS (Net Promoter Score), Google rating, readmission and complication rates. Adjust strategies according to results obtained, for a continuous improvement process.

By embodying these practices, a facility can significantly transform the patient experience. Active listening then becomes more than a process; it is the foundation on which excellence in care rests, helping to forge a lasting bond of trust between patients and healthcare professionals.

Part 3: Quality at the heart of the Active Listening process to improve the patient experience

In the healthcare sector, the quality department plays a crucial role in the continuous improvement of the patient experience. This mission relies heavily on active listening, a strategic approach to gathering and analyzing patient feedback to optimize care and services.

The role of the Quality department in improving the patient experience

The quality manager, essential in this ecosystem, is responsible for implementing, monitoring and improving quality standards within the establishment. This position requires specialized training, often at bac+5 level, with skills in risk management, quality assurance and continuous improvement.

Main duties include:

  • Development and Implementation of Quality Standards: Establishment of guidelines in compliance with regulations.
  • Documentation and Action Plan Monitoring: Develop and maintain detailed documentation of procedures and action plans to facilitate performance monitoring and evaluation.
  • Training and Awareness: Promoting a culture of continuous improvement within the team.
  • Audit and Evaluation: Conducting audits to measure the effectiveness of practices and identify potential improvements.
  • Patient Feedback Management: Collect and analyze feedback using advanced technological tools.

Issues & Challenges

The quest for superior quality in healthcare is fraught with difficulties:

  • Data volume management: Handle a large number of returns from a variety of sources.
  • Prioritize Improvement Actions: Select the most impactful interventions based on in-depth analysis.
  • Team commitment: Supporting the motivation and active participation of all staff.
  • Measuring the Impact of Initiatives: Quantifying the effectiveness of improvement measures on the patient experience.

From Listening to Action

To navigate through these challenges, the quality department needs to adopt a proactive strategy, based on the following axes:

  • Implementation of Integrated Feedback Systems: Creation of channels facilitating the collection of feedback at various points in the patient journey.
  • In-depth feedback analysis: Using specialized software to detect trends and areas for improvement based on patient feedback.
  • Creation of Multidisciplinary Working Groups: teams dedicated to examining and implementing identified improvements.
  • Development of Targeted Training Programs: Organization of training sessions for staff, focused on improving communication and adopting best quality practices.
  • Rigorous monitoring and evaluation: Definition and monitoring of key performance indicators to assess the impact of improvement initiatives.
  • Transparent communication of improvements: Regular sharing of progress and changes with patients and staff, reinforcing trust and transparency.

By putting quality and active listening at the heart of its processes, the quality department becomes the driving force behind continuous improvement, essential to enriching the patient experience and promoting a culture of excellence in healthcare.

With Better World, Turn Patient Opinion into Action

Better Worldthe French leader in Patient Listening

At Better World, our mission is clear: to simplify the improvement of the patient experience.

Since our launch in 2017, we've been acting alongside care teams and patients to turn every patient return into an opportunity to raise the quality of care.

As a result, Better World has become the must-have solution for the quality teams of more than 700 healthcare and medical-social establishments.

"To truly listen to patients is to capture the essence of their words, to understand their story through their eyes. With Better World, we went beyond the simple numbers of the e-Satis questionnaires. We've illuminated aspects of the patient experience that, without this depth of analysis, would have remained in the shadows."

Myriam Combes, Director of Strategy and Medical Relations at Elsan

How does it work?

  1. Multifaceted framing and collection

At Better World, the process begins with careful scoping with each facility's teams to understand and integrate their unique context. We explore a variety of patient review sources, from websites to QR codes, to capture a comprehensive view of the patient experience.

  1. Classification to suit your organization

We adapt the classification of the data collected to suit the specific needs and structure of each facility. This customization enables more relevant and targeted analysis, facilitating the implementation of precise improvements.

  1. A Revolutionary Analysis Platform

Our state-of-the-art tools and AI-driven analytics platform transform patient feedback into accurate insights. Featuring analysis charts and alerts, our customized solution offers data visualization that's both clear and intuitive.

  1. From Follow-up to Concrete Action

But our support goes far beyond analysis. We work hand-in-hand with facilities to convert their feedback into tangible action. This partnership is the key to catalyzing change and boosting the patient experience.

Better World isn't just a platform; it's a revolution in patient care. Together, let's make every opinion a step towards excellence in healthcare.

You can obtain a Better World demonstration or request an audit of your patient experience: Talk to the Better World teams.


Improving the patient experience is an essential strategic approach, centered on the need to deeply understand patients' needs at every stage of their care journey. Adopting an active listening approach is crucial: it increases patient and caregiver satisfaction, identifies team needs, and ensures compliance with the highest standards of care.

At Better World, our experience with over 700 organizations shows that these practices are transforming the quality of care. We encourage all healthcare facilities to adopt these methods, which are the foundations for a future where every opinion counts towards excellence in care.

Things to remember

  1. The Patient Experience as a Quality Indicator: The patient experience is an essential indicator of the quality of care, reflecting every interaction and stage of the healthcare journey.
  2. The Importance of Active Listening: Adopting an active listening approach is crucial to understanding patients' needs and expectations, enabling accurate measurement of satisfaction and proactive identification of necessary improvements.
  3. Diversity of Feedback Methods: The use of a variety of methods-questionnaires, interactive technologies, interviews, and observations-enriches data collection and offers a complete view of the patient experience.
  4. Turning feedback into action: Feedback analysis, using advanced technologies like Better World, is essential for converting data into concrete actions and driving continuous improvement.
  5. Involvement and multi-disciplinary training: Involving various players in the facility and providing ongoing training in active listening and feedback management enhances the effectiveness of the improvement process.
  6. Adapted tools for quality teams: Providing quality teams with adapted tools like Better World for analyzing feedback is vital to ensure effective implementation of care standards and to promote a culture of continuous improvement.
  7. Rigorous monitoring of Performance Indicators: Evaluating the impact of actions through key indicators such as satisfaction rates, Net Promoter Score and readmission rates enables us to measure the effectiveness of initiatives and adjust strategies according to results.
  8. Central role of the Quality Department: The Quality Department plays a central role, not only in monitoring and auditing procedures, but also in optimizing feedback to improve care services.

Let's build your Action Plan

Get personalized and actionable advice to build your action plans and track your target audience's satisfaction over time.


You have a project in mind?

Please fill out this form, and a member of our team will contact you within 24 hours.

Thank you! Our teams will get back to you as soon as possible!
Oops! Sorry, a problem has occurred.