Healthcare provided by the Defence Medical Services (DMS) is acknowledged to be of a high standard but patients’ experiences of it has not been measured and collated in a consistent and meaningful way, which has limited strategic quality improvement initiatives. Responsibility for implementing and delivering a programme of healthcare governance and assurance for the DMS rests with the Inspector General (IG). An important aspect of this role is to nurture a culture of continuous improvement in the DMS and under this leadership the IG team has prioritised a number of projects to address this. The project to improve patient experience data capture was prioritised in the work schedule as it incorporated initiatives that would lead to improved quality in DMS healthcare, information exploitation and ultimately patient safety. This is the first in a series of articles that will document this important work and describe the methodological considerations associated with the initial questionnaire design, collaboration with NHS partners, the pilot study and progress towards the introduction of the definitive DMS tool later this year.
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