Using client/patient satisfaction data about HIV testing and treatment services, collected in a similar way as TripAdvisor does for hotels and restaurants, is an important innovation. It can, among other things, help to reduce HIV stigma and discrimination that men who have sex with men, transgender women and other key populations often experience while accessing health services. It gives clients who need HIV services the most a weapon to hit back and fulfil their human right to health, by turning the tables on the very Asian idea of 'obey, be quiet, the doctor knows best'.
Client satisfaction data, especially if enabling comparisons across different service providers, can drive a consumer-oriented approach to HIV treatment and support in which the client is truly 'on top'--the way it should be. It creates competition among service providers to please the client, and as a result it will gradually help to improve the quality of HIV services overall.
Just like TripAdvisor, data can be collected on different aspects of the health service visit experience: waiting time; how friendly clients are greeted and welcomed by the receptionist; how clean and comfortable was the waiting area; how convenient was the location of the service; how convenient were the opening hours; how well did the doctor/medical professional explain and communicate; to what extent did the client have a chance to ask questions; what were the costs -- et cetera.
Data on service quality experiences can be collected in different ways. First, outside case managers/patient navigators who accompany clients to HIV services could play a role in collecting this data in a routine manner by reminding clients to express their opinion about their experiences while they accompany them to the HIV services. Second, HIV service providers interested in receiving feedback on their performance could (and should!) collect data as part of the 'check out' procedure, just before the client leaves the premises. Third, NGOs could promote an online way to enter data providing feedback on quality -- similar to the way this was done during a UNDP/DOH funded study I conducted in Metro Manila last year, together with Andrew Desi Ching. As is the case in most types of research, mixed methods are probably best!
Whereas I am not in favour of allowing a market-based-approach in health systems in general (because consumers do not have the specialised knowledge and skills necessary to truly know and choose what is best for them), client satisfaction is one area where a bit more marketing-thinking could do wonders...