Measuring our members’ outcomes and experiences of healthcare

As New Zealand’s largest health insurer, we paid our nearly $1B in claims in 2019.1 So, like you, we want to be sure of the outcomes and experiences provided to our members under their Southern Cross policy, as well as the impact the treatment has had on their overall health and wellbeing.

By telling us about their experiences and the impact of your treatment on their quality of life, they’re giving us insight into what’s working well and what could be improved. 

In order to do this, Southern Cross uses internationally accepted survey tools that measure patient reported outcomes, experiences and impacts on quality of life from both surgical procedures and specialist consultations.

The surveys are sent electronically by a specialist patient survey provider and results are reported anonymously back to Southern Cross. We have collected over 105,000 survey responses from members since 2014. To support ongoing quality improvement, surgical and medical specialists can access their summarised results via an online dashboard and see where they sit compared with other (anonymised) colleagues.

Measuring outcomes and experiences for specialist medical procedures

Our main survey is the Outcomes and Experiences Questionnaire (OEQ) that asks members six questions about their experience and five questions on outcomes. The OEQ was developed initially by Oxford University for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). Within this survey is a net promoter score that measures the likelihood of a member recommending that specialist to another member. We have been surveying members across all surgical specialties since April 2015 and to date have received over 77,000 responses.2 

The OEQ also gives members the opportunity to provide feedback with free text comments, adding depth and context to the results. This addition of the “patient voice” to clinical quality measures is an important lens on private healthcare that Southern Cross can facilitate on behalf of providers. For example: 

  • What do our members think about their experience with their healthcare provider?
  • Do our members think that their quality of life has improved following their treatment?

Measuring changes in health outcomes and quality of life before and after surgery

We use a globally well-established tool called EQ-5D, developed by EuroQol in Holland to measure the shift in health outcomes and quality of life. This survey was launched in May 2015 across a selected group of surgical procedures and asks each patient an identical set of questions about their quality of life both before and after their Southern Cross-funded procedure. To date we have received over 10,000 responses.2

Measuring the experiences associated with consultations

A significant part of reimbursed activity relates to specialist consultations where there may be no associated surgical activity. To measure the impact and experience of consultations we use the Doctor's Interpersonal Skills Questionnaire (DISQ). This is Southern Cross’s newest patient survey initiative. Started in 2018, this survey asks members 12 questions between 24 and 48 hours after an initial consultation with a specialist. The question set is licensed from CFEP (Client Focused Evaluation Program), whose surveys are used by practices internationally. To date we have received over 18,000 responses.2

For information on what your patients see, the questions we ask, etc visit the Patient Survey FAQs page.

Gaining continuing education points from reviewing survey data

We have partnered with CFEP for RACS and NZOA members to be eligible for 10 CME points on completion of a simple reflection exercise after viewing their patient feedback in the personalised reporting portal. Learn more about

Frequently asked questions

Yes. Once we have collected more than ten results for you, this data becomes available. We encourage all providers (Affiliated Providers and fee for service) to review their personal data on the provider portal. Email patient@surveys.southerncross.co.nz and we will send you a login.

There is now a significant bank of results [as of March 2020]:

  • Over 87,000 responses have been gathered (with a 25% response rate for patient reported experience and 43% for patient reported outcomes).
  • Over 18,000 responses for patient reported experiences for medical consultations.
There is a comprehensive user guide on the portal. For troubleshooting, contact our team patient@surveys.southerncross.co.nz or Cemplicity.
It is natural to wonder whether patient feedback is positive or negative. The overall results are consistently positive and reassuring for our members and the medical community. There are individual responses and questions where there are differences to the norms. These results provide an opportunity for reflection but are not likely to impact the overall positive pattern.

Our partnership managers welcome the opportunity to discuss the survey feedback with individual providers on a one on one basis. The data relating to individual specialists is not shared directly with facilities. 

We do share aggregated, anonymous data at an overall specialty level with industry groups such as colleges and associations. We also promote the practice of patient reported outcome and experience measurement with a range of stakeholders.

Southern Cross has shared anonymised data with research organisations to support insights development. At some stage in the future Southern Cross may use this data to assist members in considering their health choices.

As this is a survey of our members’ perceptions of healthcare funded under their health insurance policies, its primary purpose is to reflect our members’ voice. Our members can opt in to complete the survey and we have a consistently strong response rate.

The information is organised around individual specialists to support the provision of feedback to our provider community. Providers can opt in to view the results and we actively encourage engagement with patient feedback as an input to ongoing improvements in outcomes and experiences.

Partnership Managers do refer to the data at a specialty and individual level and welcome the opportunity to include patient feedback in relationship discussions. The data is not a determinant of commercial terms but could be used as an input to relationship discussions.

For more information on the patient outcomes and experience programme or to get a log in to access your results, email patient@surveys.southerncross.co.nz.

  1. Year ended June 2019
  2. March 2020