The Physiotherapy service at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust (CDDFT) are harnessing data to make patient-informed improvements to their service after digitising their patient satisfaction questionnaire. The service has increased uptake and data quality by developing a bespoke digital questionnaire using the Health Call platform.

The digital solution, which replaces a previous paper questionnaire, sends the patient a link to the questionnaire via SMS direct from the patient notes with questions specific to physiotherapy services. The patient can then complete the questionnaire in their own time and on their device of choice.


Previously the service relied on a paper-based standard NHS Friends and Family Survey (F&F).This information had been collected manually, either at the time of assessment or during subsequent follow-up appointments. The importance of digital data collection was further highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic when more patients were being managed remotely to reduce the number of face-to-face appointments.

As the F&F questionnaire is not bespoke to Physiotherapy, it did not help the team collect useful patient feedback, which could help drive fundamental improvements in the service. The team felt the process could be improved digitally with tailored questions specific to the services to gain more usable patient data.

Collaborating with NHS-owned digital health company Health Call, Beth Webster (Extended Scope Practitioner / First Contact Practitioner and Co-Governance Lead) began to digitise the process. It has since gone on to significantly increase uptake and patient engagement. As a result, the response rate has risen to 35% from 27%, with the team receiving 304 digital responses in July – September alone.

Its new digital format has also improved data efficiency and enabled the team to gather better quantitative and qualitative patient data more easily. This enhanced data quality has led the team to look for and make insightful changes to the service to improve the patient experience and satisfaction.

The digital solution has also helped streamline the process, saving clinical time while reducing costs and admin. As previously, the questionnaire was completed during a face-to-face appointment, and a hard copy was then collected by the admin team and manually input into the system. Hence, its digitisation removes this process, saving printing costs and reducing the data loss risk.

The Physiotherapy service is delighted with the impact of the new digital questionnaire and has already utilised the feedback data for service development.

Beth Webster, at County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust, who has been working on this for two years developing and implementing this service said:


“Patient feedback is critical for developing and improving any service, but gaining and using it effectively is often complex and challenging. The friends and family survey was not fit for purpose or generating the qualitative data we needed to make meaningful improvements.


Developing a digital system has been the best thing for the service. Patients can now complete their feedback questionnaire, in their own time, in their own home, on their own device.


This has dramatically increased uptake and the quality of feedback we receive. We can also filter patient data under the nine specific Adult MSK Physiotherapy services, which is an excellent tool given the First Contact Practitioner, Virtual Soft Tissue Clinic and Urgent Care and Rheumatology are all new services using CDDFT MSK Physiotherapists.

We can now use quality patient data to make specific patient-informed service improvements, such as introducing triaged self-referral patients into the First Contact Practitioner service and signposting patients to useful resources.”

The solution has been developed using NHS owned digital health company Health Call’s platform, which is part of a regional partnership between trusts in the region where they can access a library of digital solutions or build their own which are then shared with the wider trusts across the region.

Claire Graham, Head of Customer Success at Health Call, said:

“ We are thrilled to see County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust using our platform to innovate and transform its physiotherapy services. Seeing results like this demonstrates the impact of digitising simple processes that can go a long way in improving services and the experiences of clinicians and patients. This is precisely why the Health Call partnership was set up and why we continue to share our clinician-led solutions so other NHS organisations nationwide can benefit from our tested technologies.”

If you would like more information on how Health Call’s digital solutions could improve outcomes for your service, contact [email protected].