Identify location for data collection
Hospitals should consider two factors when considering locations:
- The ease with which asking demographic questions can be streamlined into existing operations,
- The volume/percentage of patients who can be reached at the location
Hospital setting: Acute or Ambulatory Care
Of the hospitals we spoke with, the vast majority that provide acute and/or ambulatory care found that asking questions about demographic variables worked best during admission, whether by admitting staff (e.g. when giving the patient a hospital card) or when a patient gets admitted through the Emergency Room.
The Admitting area was chosen by hospitals due to:
- Practicality: The relative ease of adding demographic questions to existing procedures focused on gathering personal information from patients.
- Scope: All patients have to be admitted before receiving care at the hospital. This means that collection at admission will also maximize the percentage of patients being surveyed.
Hospital setting: Rehabilitation
Patients in rehabilitation settings generally get more time with their healthcare providers and develop strong relationships with hospital staff due to the nature of rehabilitative care.
As such, it may make more sense for the hospital to have healthcare providers or clinicians collect the data.
In special cases of working with extremely vulnerable populations who are reluctant to share personal information, hospitals may wait until they have established some trust before asking these questions and may even include the questionnaire in the exit survey.
Hospitals that start collecting data on a smaller scale in preparation for an organization-wide collection should choose a site that closely mirrors their final roll-out location. By doing so, they can plan ahead and evaluate staff training, IT options, data collection procedures, and patient and data privacy protocols.
There are several ways to carry out the Initial Implementation of Demographic Data Collection in Registration and Admission. Hospitals can:
- Collect data at specific times of the day or during specific shifts
- Collect data an a reduced number of days (e.g. 4 days a week)
- Collect data at one site (for hospitals with multiple sites)
Lessons from starting data collection in Registration/Admission will considerably facilitate transition into hospital-wide data collection.
Identify how data will be collected
Suggested: Taking enough time with each patient to carefully explain the WHAT, HOW & WHY of demographic data collection is key to success. The building block to a successful approach to a patient is clarity regarding the purpose of demographic data collection identifying how to communicate with patients is central to goal formation, privacy laws, and getting staff ready to answer the questions they may have.
Research shows that patients are more likely to share sensitive information when they:
- Understand why it is being collected
- Understand how it will be used
- Are secure that it will remain confidential
Explaining why and how:
We are currently collecting additional information. This data will help us understand our patients’ needs and provide relevant services. This information will also help us see how we can improve the quality of care for patients. Participation is voluntary and you may decline to answer any of the questions.
Explaining data is confidential & private:
Your answers will remain private and confidential. Other than sharing language and disability to provide you with services, none of the information will be by any of your healthcare providers.
Next page: Chapter 5: Train Staff