A short generic patient experience questionnaire: howRwe development and validation

BMC Health Serv Res. 2014 Oct 22:14:499. doi: 10.1186/s12913-014-0499-z.


Background: Patient experience is a key quality outcome for modern health services, but most existing survey methods are long and setting-specific. We identified the need for a short generic questionnaire for tracking patient experience.

Methods: We describe the development and validation of the howRwe questionnaire. This has two items relating to clinical care (treat you kindly; listen and explain) and two items relating to the organisation of care (see you promptly; well organised) as perceived by patients. Each item has four responses (excellent, good, fair and poor). The questionnaire was trialled in 828 patients in an orthopaedic pre-operative assessment clinic (PAC).

Results: The howRwe questionnaire is shorter (29 words) and more readable (Flesch-Kincaid grade score 2.2) than other questionnaires with broadly similar objectives. Psychometric properties in this sample are good with Cronbach's α=0.82. Following a change to the appointments system in the clinic, howRwe showed improvement in promptness and organisation, but not in kindness and communication, showing that it can distinguish between the clinical and organisational aspects of patient experience.

Conclusions: howRwe meets the criteria for a short generic patient experience questionnaire that is suitable for frequent use. In the validation study of PAC patients, it showed good psychometric properties and concurrent, construct and discriminant validity.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / standards*
  • Female
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Orthopedics / standards*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*