Abstract: Healthcare organisations receive large volumes of complaints; for example in 2015-16 the NHS received over 100,000 complaints from service users (patients and their families). Traditionally complaints have been seen as something to manage or even hide. However, listening to service user complaints can potentially provide independent, practical, and unique insights for improving patient safety and quality. This lecture reports evidence using the Healthcare Complaints Analysis Tool, which is the first reliable tool for systematically analyzing and benchmarking the nature and severity of complaints received by hospitals. It shows that complaints from patients and families highlight systemic problems in the provision of safe and high-quality healthcare, and are associated with hospital-level mortality rates. This evidence supports the idea that complaints have high validity and can be used both as an early warning system for identifying systemic failures in healthcare organisations, and as a catalyst for organizational learning.
Biography: Tom Reader is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research examines the relationship between organisational culture and safety management in high-risk organisations, and has been conducted in a variety of settings (healthcare, aviation, energy, finance). Dr Reader’s research has been disseminated through outlets such as Risk Analysis, BMJ: Quality and Safety, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, Human Factors, Ergonomics, and Human Relations.