By Dr Alan Smith, Specialist in Public Health Medicine, National Screening Service
At a recent (4-8 May 2023) international Colorectal Cancer Screening Committee meeting of the World Endoscopy Organisation (WEO), BowelScreen demonstrated Ireland’s world-leading work capturing patient-reported experience measures (PREMs) in real-time in a national screening programme.
The BowelScreen PREMs project has established that using SMS (text) messaging to capture real-time patient experience is a useful and innovative tool and is effective and suitable for use in the Irish healthcare setting.
The responses from our screening participants have provided us with information about how well we communicate, the standard of our service and helps us identify where improvements can be made across the programme. This text message approach has provided a response rate ranging between 42-49%, considerably higher than traditional paper-based surveys.
How it worked
Between April and December 2022, a selection of BowelScreen participants received an online survey by SMS. The text message methodology is a first and an innovative approach for our national cancer screening programmes in Ireland. This digital approach helped us capture what our patients think of our services quickly and easily. We worked with our partners www.cemplicity.com to develop customisable reporting dashboards for BowelScreen and our screening colonoscopy units. These dashboards (see Figure 1) provide a clear and easy way to interpret both quantitative and qualitative feedback.
The results of the digital survey were extremely positive. 89% of respondents rated BowelScreen as ‘Good’ or ‘very good’. Overall, BowelScreen participants reported high levels of satisfaction with the programme achieving a net promoter score (NPS) of >73%, a score considered exceptional.
Meeting attendees were impressed particularly with the digital nature of the survey, the uptake, the scalability and the quality improvement insights it provides beyond the technical aspects of a colonoscopy. We were able to share that, because of its success, a patient-reported experience programme will be implemented across all NSS programmes, beginning with BreastCheck in 2023 and followed by Diabetic RetinaScreen and CervicalCheck in 2024.