Ethical survey software from University of Leicester rolled-out by LOROS Hospice

The LOROS Hospice is trialling an inclusive and ethical data gathering tool developed by researchers from the University of Leicester to gain feedback from their service users.

LOROS is an independent charity that provides care for over 2500 residents per year in Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland. They deliver free care and support to terminally ill patients, their family and carers through numerous multidisciplinary services including inpatient stays, outpatient clinics, day therapy, support in people’s homes, and counselling. Offering high quality, individualised care to patients and their families is pivotal to LOROS’ mission. 

Central to achieving this mission is understanding patient experience and implementing quality improvements to enhance patient experience via a suite of activities including staff training to focus on relational and functional aspects of care, improving existing environment, enhancing existing/designing new services, etc. 

To understand this better, the University of Leicester researchers partnered with LOROS to co-create LeicSurveyTM: a digital data gathering tool that is inclusive, ethical, and frictionless for all parties involved. It aims to be an exemplar for ethical and inclusive data gathering to help charities, especially hospices, to quantify the impact of their services. 

This partnership was underpinned by seed funding from the Centenary Community Engagement Fund: University of Leicester funding mechanism that enables researchers to tackle some of the complex challenges faced by local communities. The funding supported two School of Engineering graduates Alagu Arunachalam and Sai Kumar Mattireddy who played a critical role in engineering this survey tool.

Understanding user experience is mission critical for hospices and social enterprises to demonstrate their impact and value. However, gathering user feedback can be challenging as they often serve communities who find existing survey tools unsuitable, due to accessibility issues or language barriers for example. Many of these tools are also costly, non-inclusive, and have limited customisability.

LeicSurvey combines a simple and attractive user interface with powerful tools for collating and presenting complex data, including changes in user engagement and satisfaction over time. Co-created with a charity for other charities, it takes a ‘dignity by design’ approach by putting the user in control of the survey. It allows for optimised visual design elements to make survey taking easier for users, simplifying questions to value their time, being inclusive by diversifying the design, and anonymising data gathering entirely including not recording personal browsing data from user devices

Jo Polkey, Director of Patient Services & Clinical Quality at LOROS, said: “LOROS is delighted to be partnering with the University of Leicester team. Our interdisciplinary collaboration with academics and students outside of clinical care has been insightful and mutually beneficial. We have been quite impressed by our partners’ commitment to ensuring the survey meets our needs and the highest security and regulatory compliance.”

With the software already in use by the University of Leicester Heritage Hub and soon to be rolled out at multiple hospices, the team hopes that by enabling these organisations to collect richer data from their users they will be able to help decision-makers understand their roles in supporting community cohesion, wellbeing, and social and economic regeneration.

Veronica Mickleburgh, Clinical Service Development Project Lead at LOROS, said: “The LOROS team have very recently implemented LeicSurvey within some clinical Services such as in the ward, day therapy and outpatients as part of phase 1. The relevant Heads of services and managers involved in the roll-out within their clinical services have been supportive and initiated ways of highlighting the survey to patients and families which fit with their services. 

“During the validation phase, we were impressed by the frictionless nature of the survey and pace of analysis, offering us richer insights instantaneously, with the outcome of saving administration time. Phase 2 will involve embedding the digital survey into other services and potentially evaluating hardware to enable easier access to our patients and their families and carers.”

The team is currently working with multiple hospices across the UK and India to implement LeicSurveyTM as their choice feedback gathering tool. University of Leicester scientists have received £62,500 from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) via the ARC Accelerator to scale the use of LeicSurveyTM software and develop a sustainable business model to ensure long-term impact. The ARC Accelerator aims to equip researchers from the social sciences, arts and humanities with the skills they need to bring their ideas to market.

Dr Himanshu Kaul from the University of Leicester School of Engineering said: “Partnering with LOROS has been a pleasure, but in particular, co-designing with them a product that will ultimately benefit our local communities remains the University of Leicester team’s most cherished accomplishment. Our engagement with the LOROS hospice supported numerous students, in particular Alagu and Sai whose transformation into technical leaders has been remarkable. The University of Leicester team is rethinking data gathering and surveys, and aims to have a transformative impact in the sector via our inclusive and ethical platform technology.”