Collecting and understanding patient data is the best way to provide quality long-term care for your clients. Providing quality care not only benefits your patients, it can also benefit your bottom line. Patients with improved outcomes are more likely to refer others to your facility. Data can tell you the paths patients take before, during and after receiving treatment, which can result in better preventative and follow-up care. In addition, data collection can often fill the void left by sporadic office visits. Keep reading for best practices on collecting and analyzing this data, as well as how to use healthcare promotional items as a tool in your research.
Tips for collecting patient data
The first hurdle to analyzing data is collecting the information needed from patients. First, decide what information to collect. Whether it’s through survey questions or repeat patient tracking, choose the best way to gather data from patients.
Next, you need a patient’s approval to collect data to use for research. Take the time to explain why collecting their information is important. If patients understand how data collection benefits them, they will be more likely to help. Explain the data you are collecting and why in a healthcare promotional item, such as a brochure or flyer, that can be mailed or handed out at office visits.
If part of your research requires patients to keep track of their health records at home, make it simple for them to do so. Provide a health organizer or memo pad, where patients can easily record their stats. Tracking fitness? Give them a medical promotional item that tracks calories burned and exercises completed. A pedometer that shows distance walked and calories burned is an excellent tool.
How to review patient data
Once data has been collected—thanks to the help of patients and medical promotional items—it’s time to dig deep and analyze. Here are a few things to consider when dissecting patient data:
- Stay organized. Keep data well-organized. Decide on naming conventions and a system to store files before the information begins rolling in. This will save time and resources as data accumulates.
- Turn text into numbers. If you have survey answers that come in word form, develop a coding system that turns the words into numbers to make analysis easier. For example, translate “yes” and “no” to “1” and “2.”
- Format data. From spreadsheets to graphs and everything in between, there are many options when it comes to laying out data. Try different formats to find out what works best for your needs.
- Group data. Grouping data into various classes can make it easier to examine. Whether it’s by age, race, gender, income or more, breaking data down into smaller groups could reveal information that wasn’t visible when looking at the larger data set.
- Reevaluate data needs. After spending some time with the information, determine whether you are asking the right questions. If necessary, come up with new questions or a collection model that better fits research needs.
When broken into steps, data analysis is not as complicated as it seems. Use these tips and healthcare promotional items to collect and analyze data from patients that could lead to better care. Let the data analysis fun begin!