Patients who evaluate their visit are less willing to give bribes

Published November 3, 2016

Patients, who evaluate their visit at the doctor are more willing not to give bribes and tend to think that bribery will not ensure better service. Also, they are more inclined to recommend that health care institution to their family members and friends – it was shown in the social design experiment in Vilnius city’s Lazdynai clinic – the first of such kind in the EU – implemented by Transparency International Lithuania in 2016.

Vitamin Lab was set up in Lazdynai clinic’s waiting room, where every day for two months patients were able to evaluate doctors’ work as well as services provided by clinic’s employees. At the same time, family doctors were reminding them in various ways that professionalism, attentiveness and the ability to listen are their cornerstone values.

The results of the experiment showed that patients who were evaluating the quality of their visit in the clinic thought that the clinic was less corrupt. They tended to think more often that unofficial salary (20.3% in comparison with 31.4%, who didn’t participate in evaluations) or a gift (10.6% in comparison with 19.6%, who didn’t participate in evaluations) would not help to get better services in the clinic. Also, they would more rarely give unofficial gifts (18.7% in comparison with 24.3%) to the clinic’s staff. Vitamin Lab’s participants has better views about the clinic and were more inclined to recommend it to their family members and friends.

According to doctors and patients, this particular social design experiment stimulated both patients and doctors to change their communication habits. More patients (87.6% in comparison with 79.6% before experiment) said that doctors interact with them in a more respectful manner.

The experiment encouraged more patients to evaluate clinic’s work. During two months of the experiment, every third patient evaluated clinic’s services. Previously, it was done just by every tenth visitor. Overall, during the experiment, patients evaluated the clinic 3 400 times and left 199 written references.

“This initiative has clearly shown that it is highly worth seeking small victories which can bring real results in a short period of time and inspire others to make similar steps. Generally, people do a lot of things out of habit and without taking any initiative – thinking that problems are unconquerable in health sector. We should first seek for small changes in every health care institution in order to increase probability of actually changing old stereotypes in the country”, said Sergejus Muravjovas, Executive Director of TI Lithuania.

In order to evaluate the results of experiment, a representative (quota sampling) survey was conducted. 796 patients (416 before initiative and 380 patients after) took part in it. Also, TI Lithuania surveyed 30 Lazdynai clinic’s family doctors, created focus group discussions with patients and initiative volunteers as well as interviewed clinic’s staff.

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