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What Words Convey: The Potential for Patient Narratives to Inform Quality Improvement

What Words Convey: The Potential for Patient Narratives to Inform Quality Improvement

For the past 25 years, health care providers and health system administrators have sought to improve care by surveying patients about their experiences. More recently, policymakers have acted to promote this learning by deploying financial incentives tied to survey scores. This article explores the potential of systematically elicited narratives about experiences with outpatient care to enrich quality improvement. Dr. Rachel Grob et al. found that in a health policy environment that incentivizes attention to patient experience, rigorously elicited narratives hold substantial promise for improving quality in general and patients’ experiences with care in particular. Most narratives convey experiences that are potentially actionable by those committed to improving health care quality in outpatient settings.

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