Factors influencing the pathways in response to complaints

Factors influencing the pathways in response to complaints Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore hospital staff response to patient complaints and the factors influencing the response pathway. Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses an exploratory study in a large Taiwanese hospital purposefully chosen as a case study site. The critical incident technique (CIT) is implemented, using a questionnaire along with non‐participant observations in which the results have been triangulated. A total of 59 cases were collected. Findings – The study found when facing “humaneness” complaints, hospital staff attempted to investigate the event and then explain the facts to the complainant or empathise with him/her and then refer the problem to the relevant unit. In response to complaints combining “communication” and “care/treatment and humaneness”, staff tended to investigate the event's details and then directly explain them to the complainant. When complaints involved “care/treatment”, staff tended to empathise with the complainant, investigate the facts and explain them to the complainant. Additionally, the organisational response to complaints was influenced by who made complaints; its type, severity, complaining method and patient status. Research limitations/implications – The literature revealed that the case study is the most common organisational study method. However, this approach is criticised for not offering findings that can be generalised. Practical implications – Complaint nature is the major factor influencing the response pathway. If healthcare managers intend to reduce complaint rates then they need to carefully classify the complaint's nature. Different complaints have different handling procedures and guidelines to help managers resolve complaints in the first place. Originality/value – There are extensive studies focusing on investigating complaints and their resolution. These studies tend not to demonstrate various means of handling patient complaints. Neither do they describe how different complaints might lead to different outcomes. Therefore, this paper explores hospital staff response to patient complaints and the factors influencing the pathways in response to complaints. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance Emerald Publishing

Factors influencing the pathways in response to complaints

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2010 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0952-6862
D.O.I.
10.1108/09526861011029361
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore hospital staff response to patient complaints and the factors influencing the response pathway. Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses an exploratory study in a large Taiwanese hospital purposefully chosen as a case study site. The critical incident technique (CIT) is implemented, using a questionnaire along with non‐participant observations in which the results have been triangulated. A total of 59 cases were collected. Findings – The study found when facing “humaneness” complaints, hospital staff attempted to investigate the event and then explain the facts to the complainant or empathise with him/her and then refer the problem to the relevant unit. In response to complaints combining “communication” and “care/treatment and humaneness”, staff tended to investigate the event's details and then directly explain them to the complainant. When complaints involved “care/treatment”, staff tended to empathise with the complainant, investigate the facts and explain them to the complainant. Additionally, the organisational response to complaints was influenced by who made complaints; its type, severity, complaining method and patient status. Research limitations/implications – The literature revealed that the case study is the most common organisational study method. However, this approach is criticised for not offering findings that can be generalised. Practical implications – Complaint nature is the major factor influencing the response pathway. If healthcare managers intend to reduce complaint rates then they need to carefully classify the complaint's nature. Different complaints have different handling procedures and guidelines to help managers resolve complaints in the first place. Originality/value – There are extensive studies focusing on investigating complaints and their resolution. These studies tend not to demonstrate various means of handling patient complaints. Neither do they describe how different complaints might lead to different outcomes. Therefore, this paper explores hospital staff response to patient complaints and the factors influencing the pathways in response to complaints.

Journal

International Journal of Health Care Quality AssuranceEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 23, 2010

Keywords: Quality improvement; Patient care; Complaints; Qualitative research; Critical incident technique; Taiwan

References

  • Incidence, source, and nature of complaints received in a large, urban emergency medical services system
    Curka, P.A.; Pepe, P.E.; Zachariah, B.S.; Gray, G.D.; Matsumoto, C.
  • Service breakdowns: a study of critical incidents in an airline
    Edvardsson, B.
  • Informal complaints on health services: hidden patterns, hidden potentials
    Gal, I.; Doron, I.

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