Patient experience with communication about follow-up care

Percentage of patients who reported someone in the emergency department talked to them about follow-up care, and asked if they would be able to get this follow-up care. (see data dictionary)

What do you see?

  • Are there any trends over time at the emergency department(s) where you work or would be most likely to visit?
  • Are there differences in patient experiences between hospitals of the same type (e.g., Large Urban)?

Whether you’re a patient, provider, or health system administrator, thinking about why these differences might exist can start conversations and lead to solutions for improved quality of healthcare.

Understanding “patients’ experiences with communication about follow-up care”

Surveying patients about their experiences in the emergency department provides a voice for patients about the quality of their care. A key part of their experience is communication, and specifically, communication about follow-up care.

The HQCA asked emergency department patients:

  • Before you left the emergency department, did someone discuss with you whether you needed follow-up care? Yes or No?
  • Before you left the emergency department, did someone ask if you would be able to get this follow-up care? Yes or No?

Responses of “yes” to both of these questions are included in the chart above. Only patients who were discharged to return home were asked these questions. If they were admitted to the hospital, the follow-up care questions were not asked.

Why is communication about follow-up care important to quality healthcare? Patient’s continuity of care is impacted by whether or not they have a clear understanding about what follow-up care is needed. For example, patients may need to have follow-up conversations with their family doctor about their treatment in the emergency department. This information can improve patients’ long-term health outcome.

If patients don’t receive the appropriate follow-up care, they may end up returning to the emergency department. Learn more about patients who returned to the emergency department in 72 hours.

Understanding the HQCA’s  emergency department patient experience survey

Every two weeks, the HQCA conducts a telephone survey with a random sample of patients from each of the 16 emergency departments reported on this website. The patient input collected in the surveys is then analyzed by the HQCA and the results of the question above, and six others, are uploaded to this website every quarter (three months). See our methodology page to learn more about the survey methodology.
Results from April to July 2016 are not reported for the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre due to the forest fire that affected Fort McMurray and forced the closure of the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre.

Results for November 2019 to July 2020 are not available for the University of Alberta Hospital and the Stollery Children’s Hospital.

The Health Quality Council of Alberta uses the Alberta Quality Matrix for Health as a way of organizing information and thinking around the complexity of the healthcare system. This measure can be used as input to assess the emergency department’s performance in these dimensions of quality:


Dimensions of Quality

  • Acceptability 
  • Accessibility 
  • Appropriateness 
  • Effectiveness 
  • Efficiency 
  • Safety