The Survey of Healthcare Experiences of Patients asks veterans to review a recent inpatient or outpatient treatment at a Veterans Health Administration facility, states a 2006 study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Questions measure patient satisfaction related to physical comfort, pharmacy performance and emotional support, among other items.
The intent of SHEP is to gather data related to patient perceptions of the quality of care received and compare it to the Veteran Healthcare Service Standards, claims the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Medical centers that serve veterans send these surveys via mail to recently released patients. Patients' answers to the surveys are confidential. Respondents may use the SHEP to file complaints, ask questions or compliment the medical staff of the particular hospital or clinic in which they were treated.
In addition to giving patients the opportunity to record experiences with SHEP, the VA offers a Patient Advocate program. Advocates work as mediators between medical staff and veterans, their families and friends, says the VA. A Patient Advocate provides facility visitors with information about patient rights and assists them in filing an appeal in the event of disagreement regarding treatment.
SHEP results reflect socioeconomic factors such as gender, age and race, according to the Journal of General Internal Medicine.