Making the Case for a Rigorous Approach to Collecting Patient Narratives

There is ample evidence of a growing interest in patients’ comments about their health care experiences. Whether those volunteered comments provide reliable and useful information to either patients or clinicians, however, is debatable. In the August 13, 2015, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Mark Schlesinger, PhD, Rachel Grob, PhD, and colleagues lay out a strong case for collecting patient narratives with the same level of careful, scientific rigor applied to the collection and reporting of closed-ended surveys of patient experience. The authors argue that a methodical approach will result in qualitative information that is complete, balanced, meaningful, and representative. Patient narratives with these characteristics can complement CAHPS survey results and serve a vital role in supporting informed choices by patients and effective problem identification by clinicians.

Read the article: Schlesinger M, Grob R, Shaller D, et al. Taking Patients’ Narratives about Clinicians from Anecdote to Science. N Engl J Med 2015 August. 373;7:675-679.

Learn more about the CAHPS team’s research on patient narratives.

Page last reviewed March 2016
Page originally created April 2015
Internet Citation: Making the Case for a Rigorous Approach to Collecting Patient Narratives. Content last reviewed March 2016. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.