A Knowledge Transfer Partnership improved University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire's communication with patients - explaining more effectively the risks of invasive procedures.

Impacts

  • A communications review with external stakeholders (eg public and potential staff) resulted in customer-focused changes to the Warwickshire NHS Trust's website
  • Internally written information was amended to make it more understandable and persuasive
  • Staff delivering cardiology care systems benefited from improved training materials, enhanced design of literature, and better-informed patients
  • A model of effective communications with patients is expected to reduce complaints, serious incidents and high-cost litigation – leading to substantial potential annual savings.

About the research

The University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust employs over 6,500 people and, along with neighbouring acute trusts in Nuneaton and Warwick, serves a population of over a million people in Coventry and Warwickshire. In a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Coventry University, the Trust aimed to develop a means of helping patients to understand the risks of invasive procedures, inline with its 'Patient and Public Involvement' strategy.

The project's focus was to develop a business process that could be used for measuring patients' perceptions of the risks involved in invasive procedures, and for assessing their preferences for specific information and involvement in the decision-making. In order to develop a questionnaire for patients, several phases of data collection were carried out involving staff, patients and students from Coventry University.

The results gathered during the KTP were important evidence that the Trust could provide to the Health Care Commission for assurance of the quality of its cardiology service standards. The project also provided a model for building effective patient communications elsewhere in the Trust, as part of the Patient and Public Involvement initiative.