About Mary Vance

I am one of the two Cemplicity founders. since 2004, following a successful corporate career, I've been following my passion for technology and how it can be used to transform health systems, designing them around the needs of patients, their families and communities.

6 Key factors to consider when designing at-scale, real-time patient feedback programmes

Cemplicity's incubator was the New Zealand health system. Within this respected, high functioning yet small system, we have had the opportunity to engage with people across the sector, from the Ministry of Health to ward staff and GPs. We have co-designed national methodologies and seen the the results of our work through participation in governance groups and close feedback loops. As we step out onto the international stage, we realise how fortunate we have been to have started in NZ. Priorities are clearly articulated in the NZ Health Strategy, and funding lines and improvement frameworks encourage alignment between secondary and [...]

December 11th, 2018|Categories: Thought Leadership|

Comparing initial and follow-up responders to a New Zealand patient experience survey

  I want to draw attention to a study recently published in the New Zealand Medical Journal on non-response bias to a national hospital inpatient experience survey run using Cemplicity technology.  The study was conducted by Michael Thomson, Megan Pledger, Richard Hamblin, Jackie Cumming and Essa Tawfiq (2018) and can be read in full here. Response rates is one of the most common topics of discussion we have with clients. Getting a good response rate to a survey is critical for two reasons. Firstly, to ensure the sample size of respondents is large enough to be statistically reliable. Secondly, to ensure the results are representative of the universe that has been surveyed.   However, there is [...]

November 12th, 2018|Categories: Thought Leadership|

Australian health service providers commit to a home-grown approach to measuring health service quality

 Big changes are afoot in how Australians give feedback on their experiences as patients of local health services, moving away from the traditional US based patient feedback approaches. Partly, this shift is driven by the availability of a new high quality, locally developed survey. It's also a result of technology advances that are allowing providers to adopt a strong improvement methodology without sacrificing valuable benchmarking.Australian Hospital Patient Experience Question SetLed by the Australian Commission for Quality and Safety, a four year project involved Australians from every walk of life. The goal was to understand what matters most to Australians. Rather than assume [...]

September 27th, 2018|Categories: Thought Leadership|

Why the FFT Question alone is not enough

Evolving the Friends and Family Test (Part 2) In my last Friends and Family Test (FFT) blog, I outlined the significant benefits of a digital first approach: reaching more people building bigger datasets reducing the burden on staff, and ensuring feedback reaches staff in a timely way. In this blog I want to talk about the FFT question itself, and why it isn’t enough. The FFT question – that is, a patient’s likelihood to recommend a service – is widely used across many industries. It’s regarded as a reliable proxy for customer or patient experience. Cemplicity field many surveys that [...]

August 19th, 2018|Categories: Thought Leadership|Tags: |

Evolving the Friends and Family Test (Part 1)

Many of Cemplicity’s clients and colleagues in Australia, New Zealand and Ireland look to the NHS as the exemplar of a patient centred health service. It was therefore with great excitement I packed up the family and moved to the UK to become both a patient of the system and to join the UK patient-reported measures industry. As a patient, it’s evident in every interaction that we are partners in the system (even if services aren’t always easy to access). The right to express your opinion of a service is deeply ingrained. I’m sure the wide coverage of the Friends [...]

July 30th, 2018|Categories: Thought Leadership|Tags: |

Patient stories – ‘evidence not anecdote’

It’s a fascinating experience to become a patient of a different health system. Having recently moved to the UK from New Zealand, I’ve discovered this first hand. The pride UK citizens have in the NHS was apparent in the last Olympic Games. I’ve never come across a public institution so valued by its people. Perhaps reflecting this close relationship, the NHS was one of the first health systems globally to recognise the importance of patients’ experiences of care, and that systematic patient feedback can result in harm reduction and improved outcomes. The Friends and Family Test The NHS introduced the [...]

July 23rd, 2018|Categories: Thought Leadership|

Patient experience a top driver in US hospital tech investment

Perspective on the EY Future of Health Survey 2018. Something that caught my eye out of the US last week was EY’s most recent Future of Health Survey. In this US survey of 2,455 consumers, 152 clinicians and 195 executives, EY sought to understand how people think digital technologies will improve overall population health and which strategic initiatives are the priority. Among the findings, the survey found that 91% of US healthcare businesses have undertaken or plan to undertake a technology initiative to improve the patient experience in the next 12 months. This is a startlingly high figure and shows [...]

July 2nd, 2018|Categories: Thought Leadership|

Observations on an Ireland Healthcare Summit

Day 1 at the Future Health Summit. Always great to get out of the office and hear people from across the Irish health sector talk about what is going well and what isn’t. What I particularly enjoy about this conference is the inspiring speakers from other European countries. As several people emphasised, it isn’t about copying other health systems but is about learning from them. Personally, copying Serbia’s EHR and Outpatient management system implementation wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Waiting lists gone (and an example of superb project management). Something I’m interested to find out more about is how [...]

Lots in common in the Commonwealth – CHOGM

I’ve just spent a very interesting three days attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (abbreviated to CHOGM) here in London, bringing together heads of state and a wide variety of interest groups, discussing a range of topics. As the UK looks to re-establish ties beyond Europe with Brexit fast approaching, this CHOGM seemed to have special significance for all attending - a sense of reconnecting and perhaps rediscovering the relevance and role of the Commonwealth in the 21st century. What was apparent in all sessions, was the clear divide between developed and developing Commonwealth nations in terms of challenges [...]

April 23rd, 2018|Categories: Life at Cemplicity, Thought Leadership|

The importance of communication for a successful national patient experience programme

In recent months we have been heads down, tails up delivering an inpatient experience programme across 40 public hospitals in Ireland. It would have to have been one of the most interesting projects we have worked on and there are several aspects worth mentioning. One of our first observations is the importance of an effective communication strategy. The first key audience is the participating hospitals, from senior leaders and quality teams to the front-line staff, so they know what is happening, why and what their role is in a successful project. The second audience is the patients – they are [...]

It’s about improving patient experiences not just understanding

People who know Cemplicity, know that our concern is to improve patient experience of care, not just to measure patient experiences. We know that technology itself does not bring about better experiences for patients; it’s an important enabler but it’s what our clients do with the feedback that matters. This is a big reason we often work in partnership with skilled advisors like KPMG and the Picker Institute – so that the work doesn’t stop with measurement and the true value of the patient reported feedback can be extracted. Recently, we read a Kings Fund paper looking at the [...]

August 29th, 2017|Categories: Thought Leadership|Tags: |

NPS – Thoughts on its use in a health setting

Often, even before a client talks to us, they will have chosen their research model and the overall rating question that drives much of their reporting and analysis. Private companies frequently dictate the use of Net Promotor Score (NPS) model although it isn't as common for our public sector clients who may prefer an ‘Experience’ model. What is the Net Promoter Score? The Net Promoter Score is when someone is asked to rate, on a scale of 1-10, what the likelihood is they would recommend the service they experienced to friends or family. This scale is broken down into promoters [...]

August 28th, 2017|Categories: Thought Leadership|Tags: , |

A care experience that left me reflecting

Two things happened to me recently that typify the inspiration and frustrations that are the health sector. A couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to sit for 4 quiet long days in the general surgery ward of one of our public hospitals, supporting my ill mother. It was a rare chance to spend 11 hours each day observing the flow of people and services through the ward. For a number of years now Cemplicity has been striving to capture patient experience feedback and bring this alive for hospitals so they take action to improve. Sitting with my mother, [...]