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Joint Outpatient Experience Survey to standardize feedback from MHS beneficiaries

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Alecia Peel-Thompson, 18th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician, checks the blood pressure of a patient. U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Alecia Peel-Thompson, 18th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician, checks the blood pressure of a patient. The Joint Outpatient Experience Survey will combine patient surveys used by the services to learn about beneficiary health care experiences with the goal of making them better. (U.S. Air Force photo by Naoto Anazawa)

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Later this year, the Military Health System will roll out a unified outpatient survey system – a single survey for all military treatment facilities across all services. The Joint Outpatient Experience Survey (JOES) will combine and standardize long-standing methods used by the Army, Navy, Air Force and Defense Health Agency/National Capital Region to learn about beneficiary health care experiences with the goal of making them better.

Richard Bannick, branch chief of the Decision Support Division within the Defense Health Agency (DHA), believes JOES will help ‘raise the game’ for everyone – commanders, MTFs and beneficiaries. “As a beneficiary, now that you know your input on a survey can have a considerable impact on how the MHS delivers health care, you’ll take time to put more thought in your responses.”

Bannick helped coordinate the activities of the services for the JOES project through a long-standing Tri-Service Survey Working Group, bringing them together to make this standardization possible. “JOES will ensure across the board – whether you go to an Army, Navy, Air Force or DHA facility – you’ll get the same questionnaire, and be able to relate your experience, good or bad,” said Bannick. The transition from service surveys to JOES will be staggered throughout the coming months, beginning with the Navy Patient Satisfaction Survey in April.

Since 2013, the DHA and the services have monitored the outpatient experience of beneficiaries, making modifications to provide information on specific areas of outpatient services, in addition to paying attention to trend responses. “With the Army, Navy, Air Force and DHA each having different surveys, it was difficult to accurately measure the quality of service we were providing to beneficiaries,” said Bannick. “But now that we have a standardized survey instrument, are using standardized sampling, and a universal means of delivery (such as mail and email), we will have better comparisons across the services. And these new elements will give us information to improve the level of service we provide.” 

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