Helping St. Luke’s General Hospital Drive Improvement in its Antenatal and Postnatal Maternity Services

St. Luke’s Hospital in Ireland is a general hospital in Ireland’s South East where well over 1,000 babies are born each year. 

The Challenge

The hospital had some sense of how its maternity services were perceived by the women availing of them.  But the hospital wanted a more systematic and detailed view.  SurveyGuru was commissioned to design how the research would be done, to project manage the research, and to report on its results.  A snapshot would not work as that would only hear from a relatively small number of women.  And a retrospective survey would be problematic in terms of contact information and freshness of recollection.  The challenge was to identify a way of getting the required level of accurate detail while operating within the hospital’s staffing constraints.

The Solution

The solution recommended by SurveyGuru and agreed with St. Luke’s was a longitudinal survey of antenatal and postnatal service users – carried out over a 12 month period. 

The research methodology used was face-to-face interviewing by HSE staff and volunteers in the hospital maternity wards and in the ante-natal clinics. The interviewers used mobile devices from which they accessed an online survey. The interviewers spoke tactfully and sensitively to the women and filled in the online survey in real time during these interviews.    The interviewed women’s anonymity was total. 

The surveys were designed primarily by Brendan Cullen of SurveyGuru based on an NHS template. Review input on the surveys was also taken from maternity services personnel, hospital consultants and women who had previously given birth at St. Luke’s.  

The Benefits

As the longitudinal study was being carried out, SurveyGuru reported monthly to St. Luke’s.  These monthly reports allowed the hospital to immediately take action where needed.  Monthly reporting also included trend analysis.  This trend analysis gave the hospital rapid feedback on whether its remedial actions were having the desired effect.  It also allowed the hospital to take mitigating action where required.

SurveyGuru also provided an aggregate report covering the entire 12 month period.  Taken together, the periodic and aggregated reports furnished St. Luke’s with an accurate view of its maternity services – broken down into over 80 distinct areas.

This research project gave St. Luke’s insights and recommendations that will allow the hospital to maintain the superb level of its maternity services. (That’s not hyperbole – over 98% of mothers surveyed said they would use St. Luke’s if they were having another baby.)

We were keen to get direct feedback from women (both new mothers and mothers to be) as to how they experienced our maternity services.  We had an anecdotal feel for it but it wasn’t systematic and it wasn’t broad or objective.  We knew that we needed more!  We were looking for a company who could deliver what we needed and therefore commissioned Brendan Cullen of SurveyGuru to assess the maternity services within the hospital.  From Brendan’s assessment we were able to come up with data-backed improvement recommendations.  Brendan is the consummate professional – discerning, helpful and hyper-responsive.  It was a pleasure to work with him and I’d have no hesitation in recommending him to others.  Maternity Services, St Luke’s General Hospital, Kilkenny