Low vision care quality may be evaluated with a reliable, validated tool that examines patient-reported experiences, according to a study published in Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics. The instrument, created with the help of individuals accessing low vision care at a single center, may be used to improve quality of care and to help clinicians understand patient expectations, according to the report.
Researchers included 14 individuals with permanent vision impairment (age range, 40-75 years; 7 men) treated a single national low-vision center and examined patient-reported experiences during 3 online focus groups. The team incorporated feedback suggested by the participants and generated a 23-item survey instrument, which they implemented in a 3-month pilot program intended to improve low vision care.
“The improvement in quality of care, safety and patient experience and outcomes of services are key concerns of health care providers and patients,” according to the researchers. “However, efforts to measure these aspects of health care delivery tend to be focused on quantitative data relating to clinical outcomes such as visual acuity and infection rates. While these data are essential, they do not offer an insight into the patients’ perceptions of the care process which they have experienced.”
The researchers distributed the reliable, validated tool to 128 patients — 65 completed the evaluation, for a response rate of 51%. Survey completion primarily occurred in optometric practices (52.3%) or respondents’ homes (41.5%). Part 1, which assessed objective patient-reported experience in low vision care, demonstrated good reliability (Cronbach α, 0.94), the report shows. Part 2 of the survey tool, which examined patient feelings toward low vision care and and interactions with clinicians, demonstrated more questionability (Cronbach α, 0.63) and would have achieved better reliability with the omission of a question asking participants if they were able to communicate with staff while speaking in Welch (Cronbach α, 0.73).
Survey respondents who provided feedback (n=9) pertaining to the development of this reliable, validated tool expressed sentiment that they felt listened to and reported that their low vision care experience was a positive one.
The study authors stated that the instrument was a “validated, reliable tool, which can be used to provide information regarding patients’ experience of accessing a community-based LVS. Developed in partnership with people with [vision impairment], it has the potential to be useful as a means of patient engagement and improvement in the delivery of quality healthcare.”
Study limitations include the exclusion of pediatric patients from the analysis.
Bartlett R, Absalom R, Williams O, Withers K. Development and pilot of a community low-vision, service-specific patient-reported experience measure. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. Published online March 28, 2023. doi:10.1111/opo.13130