Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

Professor of Public Health



+44 (0)20 7594 3303h.ward Website




158Norfolk PlaceSt Mary's Campus






BibTex format

author = {Howarth, AR and Day, S and Greene, L and Ward, H},
doi = {10.1186/s12913-017-2264-6},
journal = {BMC Health Services Research},
title = {“They made me feel comfortable”: a comparison of methods to measure patient experience in a sexual health clinic},
url = {},
volume = {17},
year = {2017}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - BackgroundHigh quality sexual health services are needed to improve both individual and public health outcomes. This study set out to explore what is important to patients who visit a sexual health clinic, and examine their understanding of standard survey questions, in order to inform the collection and interpretation of patient experience data that are used to improve services.MethodsWe conducted a cross-sectional, qualitative study. In the first part of the interview, we used “discovery interviews” to explore patients’ experiences of attending a central London walk-in sexual health clinic. In the second part, we asked patients how they would respond to eight standard patient experience survey questions and to provide an explanation for each of their responses. We conducted a thematic analysis of the interview data.ResultsWe interviewed seventeen participants (nine women, eight men) of different ethnicities and backgrounds. All interviewees were positive about their experience. They described how staff had made them feel “comfortable”, and talked about how staff spent time, listened and did not rush them, despite being a very busy clinic.In response to the survey questions, fourteen patients rated their as care excellent or very good overall. However, survey questions were interpreted in different ways and were not always easily understood.ConclusionsThe open-ended “discovery interviews” provided new insights into aspects of care that were most valued or could improve. Standard patient experience questions provide a rating but little elucidation of the experiences that lie behind patients’ responses. They do not always measure aspects of care valued by patients or identify areas for improvement. They are not uniformly understood and necessarily collapse a wide range of experiences and views into categories that may seem inappropriate. Qualitative methods have a key role in measuring patient experience and involving p
AU - Howarth,AR
AU - Day,S
AU - Greene,L
AU - Ward,H
DO - 10.1186/s12913-017-2264-6
PY - 2017///
SN - 1472-6963
TI - “They made me feel comfortable”: a comparison of methods to measure patient experience in a sexual health clinic
T2 - BMC Health Services Research
UR -
UR -
VL - 17
ER -