Document Type

Theses, Ph.D


This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only

Publication Details

Thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) to dublin Institute of Technology, October 2017.


Patients are central to health care facilities and institutions; therefore, a dire need arises to include feedback of their experience in the decision-making process. Patient experience is increasingly recognised as one of the three pillars of quality in healthcare alongside clinical effectiveness and patient safety. A comprehensive literature review (more than 2500 peer-reviewed articles) has identified five key frameworks for patient experience including: UK Picker Institute Principles and US H-CAHPS. The frameworks have enabled the identification of a potential range of patient experience dimensions and helped in grouping them into nine categories. However, there are still opportunities to address research gaps in developing a unified index to represent patient experience, and offering a practical framework to inform quality improvement strategies in hospitals. An extensive exploratory study is developed to complement the literature review. This study aims to confirm the importance of the identified nine dimensions from patients’ views, explore staff perceptions of patient experience, then compare patients’ views and staff’s perceptions. Semistructured interviews with 77 participants (26 senior staff members and 51patients) across three major acute Irish hospitals are conducted. Five important dimensions are highlighted from patients’ responses such as: staff communication and being treated with respect. While dimensions such as: continuity of care and involving family members are identified as less important. While staff in this study perceive dimensions such as quicker access to care and informing the patient with their status updates as more significant in shaping the patient experience. Both the exploratory study and literature review outcomes have contributed to the design of a patient experience questionnaire which examine dimensions that matter most to patient experience. The questionnaire is included as a component of a multi-method framework that integrated data analytics, simulation modelling, and optimisation. With an ultimate objective to improve patient experience, the proposed framework has been piloted in an Emergency Department of one of the leading and busiest university hospitals in Dublin. Fifty-eight patients responded to the questionnaire and their responses are analysed using a Partial Least Squares (PLS) model. PLS results have identified access to care as a negative predictor to patient experience. Improvement strategies such as increasing the internal capacity of the department are proposed by the management team to improve the Length of Stay (LOS) and provide better access to care. To examine and assess the impact of proposed strategies on LOS, a simulation model has complemented the solution framework. Results have showed that internal capacity of an ED has no direct impact on LOS and does not act as a performance constraint. However, other factors such as increasing downstream department’s capacity and the staffing levels can lead to a reduction in LOS (up to 25%).