Co-design of Patient experience outcome measures


  • Dental Health Services Victoria


Dental Health Services Victoria is the lead oral health agency in Victoria. Our purpose is to lead improvement in health for Victorians and ensure we prioritise those most in need. To achieve better oral health outcomes, we need to work in partnership with patients, carers and communities. Patient feedback plays a vital role in delivering safe care.

In 2019 staff at the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne identified that the patient-reported experience measures were not working well. Starting with the NSQHS Standards question set we collaborated with staff, patients, and clinicians to rewrite our questions and re-design their delivery.

Key Features


During workshops, teams explored how we asked questions and when. The new questions had to be easy to understand, quick to answer and create psychological safety for people to share critical comments. Co-design methods generated prototypes later tested with our consumer network.

Testing highlighted that the questions were not the only issue in play, patients and families did not want to stay in the hospital to fill out our survey using an iPad after treatment. We now have 11 short and simple questions that are automatically sent to patients via SMS 24-hours after a visit.


At the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne, we see over 20,000 people a year in our Primary Care Department. All these people will now receive a simpler and more convenient way to provide feedback to us.

Response rates have increased considerably with a 23 times higher response rate in the first month of launch. Participation rates continue to grow, showing us both the delivery mechanism and question set are accessible.

We will use our responses to drive health service and health system improvement and improve people’s experiences and outcomes.


We know, oral disease is a key marker of disadvantage. Greater levels of oral disease are experienced by people on low incomes, dependent older people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, rural dwellers, people with a disability and immigrant groups from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds – particularly refugees. We need to hear about their experiences.

Patient-reported experience measures (PREMS) are a small but critical step in embedding patient voices in our decision making. We will continue to partner with consumers in our service design, delivery and evaluation. Working together we can redefine how we care for our communities.


The new approach to patient feedback (PREMs) has allowed us to receive immediate results and reports. We no longer needed to wait for a monthly report to share with our teams. This new system also reduced infection control issues related to COVID-19 in the hospital.

It was vital for us to open communication about how we were tracking, in our teams and across them. The dashboard and results are available for all staff to see online building a culture of data analysis and continuous improvement processes. We look forward to patient involvement in improvement activities and service evaluation.

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