A government feedback mechanism on hospitals in a number of states has thrown up a first set of figures showing a high level of dissatisfaction, including at the government’s premier hopsitals — AIIMS Delhi, Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and PGIMER Chandigarh.
Of patients who visited these premier hospitals after September and gave their feedback, one-third — 33 per cent at AIIMS and 31 per cent each at the other two — were not satisfied with services, show initial data from the “Mera Aspataal” (My Hospital) application developed by the health ministry.
Watch What Else is Making News
Those who were dissatisfied were subsequently asked what aspects they found less than satisfactory. The level of dissatisfaction over staff behaviour was particularly high —46 per cent at AIIMS and 45 per cent each in RML and PGIMER, besides 56 per cent in Rajasthan’s 31 hospitals registered with Mera Aspataal in the pilot phase.
The feedback will eventually be taken into account in giving star ratings to government hospitals. The ministry is working on a star rating plan for public health institutions with elaborate guidelines already prepared to rate community health centres between zero and five stars. In the first phase, there will also be a 5 per cent incentive in National Health Mission funds to states based on the cumulative star ratings of their public health centres.
Mera Aspataal, which collects patient feedback through a web portal, SMS service and an interactive voice response system, was launched by Health Minister J P Nadda during the ministry’s Best Practices Seminar in Tirupati on August 29. It covers 60-odd hospitals for now but will be expanded to all central government and district-level hospitals by the end of the year. Under Mera Aspataal, SMSes are sent to all patients who had visited these hospitals after their date of incorporation but responses came from only 1-3% of those who received these SMSes.
Since its incorporation in the programme, 2,46,565 patients visited AIIMS, 1,97,954 visited RML and 2,64,778 visited PGIMER.
SMSes were sent out to 2,738 patients in Gujarat who had visited the 10 government hospitals in the state that are a part of the scheme, 897 patients who visited hospitals in Telangana, 329 patients who visited 15 hospitals in Tamil Nadu and 2,98,656 patients who visited 31 government hospitals in Rajasthan. Calls were subsequently made to only those patients who had responded saying that were dissatisfied with the overall experience.
The analysis returned a high level of satisfaction on cost of treatment with only 6-7 per cent people dissatisfied on that count but 10-33 per cent were not satisfied with the quality of treatment received. Only 5-14 per cent respondents were dissatisfied with the quality of cleanliness in PGIMER showing a low of 5 per cent.
The Ministry of Health had launched last year a programme called Kayakalp under which national guidelines were released for cleanliness in hospitals. The information will be conveyed to all states and district facilities and made public to ensure transparency and give hospitals an opportunity to focus on areas that need attention.
“The analysis will add weight to our quality assessment but whether the results impinge on the performance appraisal of medical superintendents of these institutions is a call for state governments to take. We want them to use this information in drawing up ACRs of senior people in these hospitals. The feedback will also be taken into account in the National Quality Assurance Plan for health facilities and the proposed star ratings of government hospitals,” said an official.