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The Value of Qualitative Data From The Frontline Of Healthcare

Qualitative research provides a means of obtaining information through open-ended and conversational communication. The value of qualitative data from the frontline of healthcare has huge potential for hospital leaders.

By performing qualitative research, behavioral patterns can be identified, and extensive detail gathered around the depth of patient attitudes and feelings.

How to collect qualitative data

There are multiple ways to collect qualitative data for example:

In this blog we’ll focus on the methods and advantages of gathering patient narratives.

The benefits of gathering narrative data in the patient experience

Gathering narrative data from patients and their families offers a unique way to gain valuable insight into the patient experience and study human behavior, especially the way in which humans respond to and function in the face of illness:

  • Qualitative research allows us to learn through observing, listening, and understanding the patient perspective, rather than relying on statistical analysis/measurement. This approach offers an alternative for healthcare providers in an industry rooted in anthropology, where the human view takes priority.
  • Social determinants of health (SDOH) also have an influence on how patients and their families encounter healthcare. Previous experiences of healthcare or with personal trauma will also play a significant role in how patients view your hospital.
  • Frontline staff approach patient care with the core healthcare core values of respect, integrity, excellence, empathy and compassion. Each group sees care situations from their own perspective, and hospitals will find value in collecting data from both points of view.

The patient journey

The patient journey begins in the admissions department of a hospital. As they travel through multiple processes and departments and encounter administrative, clinical staff and numerous frontline employees, your patients and their families observe staff behaviors and attitudes.

They notice wait times, workflows, cleanliness, and overall friendliness and staff competence. They want to feel safe, to be able to trust your healthcare team. Above all they want to be pain free and be well again.  They are frightened and concerned about their family, their responsibilities at home, and the cost of their care.

All of their encounters with your frontline staff and procedures shape their vision of the “patient experience.”

Medicine is both an art and a science.

  • As a science, providers diagnose and treat the patient’s illness.
  • As an art, the emphasis is on the psychological, emotional, spiritual, and cultural dimensions of the patient’s health.

In order to lean into the art of healing, providers can use qualitative methodologies to gain a deeper and richer insight into the patient story.

Innovation and enhanced patient satisfaction with iSUGEZT

An innovative tool developed by VIE Healthcare® Consulting, iSUGEZT has the ability to provide this deeper insight.

The iSUGEZT app is a simple to use means for patients and families to communicate with hospital leadership and provide “narratives”.

With iSUGEZT your patients can praise your frontline employees, make a suggestion for improvement or share their inspiration for services that don’t exist.

Throughout their hospital stay, patients and their families are able to readily access the app via their smartphone and communicate with your leadership in real-time.

Furthermore, the simple prompts on the app allow for narrative responses, moving away from targeted survey questions towards a patient-centric approach to gathering feedback. It is a method to enhance the patient-provider relationship, and examine the patient’s beliefs and behavior patterns.

iSUGEZT offers a unique insight into the patient experience and a way to “walk a mile in the patient’s shoes”.

iSUGEZT offers a unique insight into the patient experience and a way to walk a mile in the patient’s shoes. Share on X

There is a positive correlation between the empathy provided, how satisfied patients are with the care they receive, and the resulting clinical outcomes.

Compassionate care supports the healing process.

The information provided by patients can be used to:

  • Enhance processes.
  • Make informed decisions.
  • Better understand what is relevant to the patient.
  • Streamline workflows.

The accolades shared by patients and families can encourage excellence and improve employee satisfaction. Patient stories can be used in employee trainings, in morning huddles, and to build team confidence.

Qualitative research into the employee perspective

Although iSUGEZT reveals indepth patient perceptions, it can also spark qualitative research into the employee perspective. Multiple studies have proven that frontline team members are well aware of problems with workflow and processes. Their insight needs to be nurtured and respected to facilitate improvement. Often, you may discover they hold the key to innovative ideas.

A comprehensive picture begins to appear as hospital leadership analyze the patient and family narratives, and the ideas of frontline staff. Various themes will emerge which will be instrumental in developing an overall improvement strategy. Those ideas will come from the frontline and often prove vital enhance patient and employee satisfaction.

iSUGEZT is a catalyst for innovation, offering a greater understanding of the human perspective.

Healthcare is indeed changing, and iSUGEZT is the groundbreaking tool to gather real-time narratives to inspire that change.


  • Davis et al.; Beyond interviews and focus groups: a framework for integrating innovative qualitative methods into randomized controlled trials of complex public health interventions; Trials (2019) 20:329 Accessed at: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-019-3439-8
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  • Thomas Bjorner, Morten Schroder, Advantages and challenges of using mobile ethnography in a hospital case study: WhatsApp as a method to identify perceptions and practices; Qualitative research in Medicine and Healthcare 2019; volume 3:58-67.
  • Browne K, and Shaller D; Tell me a story: How Patient Narrative Can Improve Health Care; May 1, 2018; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Accessed at: https://www.rwjf.org/en/library/research/2018/05/tell-me-a-story–how-patient-narrative-can-improve-health-care.html