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Consumer ratings to make “an enormously positive contribution” to the quality of aged care in Australia

After years of success in the healthcare sector, consumer ratings have made their way into aged care, and providers are being told to “be brave” in welcoming the change by a global leader in public online feedback.

Aged care providers are being told to “be brave” in the wake of the introduction of ratings and review to the sector (Source: Shutterstock)
Aged care providers are being told to “be brave” in the wake of the introduction of ratings and review to the sector (Source: Shutterstock)

Care Opinion has been at the forefront of reviews and ratings within the healthcare sector in Australia and the UK for over 12 years and says the technology has had a positive overall impact on the industry - with health care providers noting a 50 percent reduction in formal complaints, as well as an increase in community trust about their organisation.

With such positive outcomes for the health sector, Founder and Chief Executive of Care Opinion, Michael Greco, says providers in aged care need to be brave and recognise how it can benefit them, as well as the consumer.

“We’ve been doing this in the healthcare sector now for over 12 years through Patient Opinion, and governments have adopted the platform for their health services,” Mr Greco explains.

“We now have over 250,000 stories and ratings from our site in Australia and the UK and most people find it surprising that over 50 percent of the stories posted on Care Opinion are purely positive.

“Many of the other stories contain positive elements but also express a concern or issue - it’s only about seven percent of the stories on the site that are what you would call a typical complaint.

“We can see that the healthcare sector is keen to respond to stories because they can see the benefit of this type of feedback, as should the aged care sector.

“These stories from consumers are, I believe, the missing link in ensuring our aged and health care industry can be the best they can be - providers receiving these stories in real-time can use them to help improve their services, and consumers can see how providers treat the views of their consumers, and this can help them with choice.”

Mr Greco says as a public online feedback company, Care Opinion is here to both make it easy for the public to tell their story about their experience of aged care services, and allow providers to easily access these experiences to help improve the quality of their services “all in one safe platform”.

“We want to do this in a safe way for both the storytellers - the consumers - and the providers of the services,” he explains.

“We’re all in this together, and we believe that the consumer voice needs to be better utilised so that they ‘feel heard’ and can see the difference they are contributing to the quality of aged care services.

“To anyone, particularly aged care providers, who may be unsure about the introduction of consumer ratings… be brave - it will benefit you in the short and long term.

“What’s important is that the ratings, reviews, stories are handled in a safe and moderated way so that no staff member is named or shamed - which is what we do.

“It’s also an opportunity to demonstrate the service’s commitment to responding warmly and compassionately to consumer stories which will build trust with your consumers.”

The company introducing the new pilot of aged care consumer ratings, Adelaide-based multiplatform media company DPS, has partnered with Care Opinion to bring the concept to life, with Chief Executive Officer Mark Ogden saying an “open and transparent aged care sector is in the best interests of all Australians.

“By introducing our consumer ratings engine, we hope to create more dialogue between providers and those seeking care, ultimately driving positive change in the industry,” he says.

“We are excited about replicating the success in the aged care sector that has been achieved through establishing consumer ratings in health.”

Following the completion of the pilot, a review will be conducted by DPS, with a full official launch to follow.

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