Making sense of patient experience data

8 Oct 2021

Digital Health hospital data concept map

Artificial intelligence that scans extensive amounts of data could help revolutionise how health providers interpret patient feedback.  

University of Queensland researchers, supported by the Global Change Institute (GCI), are examining how improving access to real-time patient data with artificial intelligence software could lead to better health outcomes.

UQ Research Fellow Professor Jason Pole said an efficient system was needed to allow healthcare providers to use the data constructively.

“For some time, patients have been routinely invited to provide feedback on their healthcare experience by responding to a simple text message – not unlike rating a hotel room or restaurant online,” Professor Pole said.

“Our studies have demonstrated that artificial intelligence could be used to process the patient feedback data in a way that is not only meaningful, but efficient.”

Following a successful trial, Professor Pole and UQ’s Associate Professor Clair Sullivan examined the feasibility of pioneering this artificial intelligence analysis technology on a larger scale.

“The pilot study demonstrated that an off-the-shelf artificial intelligence tool, Leximancer, could be used to meaningfully interpret patient survey data quickly and with a high degree of accuracy,” Professor Pole said.

“We showed it was possible to drill down into the survey data and automatically extract comments and key words that offered tangible insights into understanding patient outcomes and feedback.”

Developed nearly twenty years ago at UQ by Dr Andrew Smith, Leximancer is now an internationally successful software platform that can identify key trends, concepts, and ideas from large pieces of text.

The platform has already been used in 140 countries and more than 2000 organisations around the world, including higher education and government agencies, not-for-profits and commercial organisations. However, it has never been used for healthcare data at scale.

By generating an interactive topic list, the software allows users to understand the true meaning of text without human biases.

GCI Director Professor Rachel Parker said the project had drawn together a range of stakeholders from across disciplines to deliver integrated solutions to improve hospital care and patient experience.

Media: Professor Jason Pole,, 0400 605 106; GCI Communications,, 0438 285 283

Release updated 18 November 2021