Develop a training program
The goals of the training program are to:
Ensure the standardization of data collection practices
- From a data quality perspective, standardizing tools and data collection methodology will minimize differences in responses that are due to the way hospitals collect the data (i.e.methodology).
- Using the same survey and similar methodologies will facilitate hospitals’ ability to compare data across time and between hospitals
Variation in data collection methods should only arise out of variation in patient needs, e.g. patient in palliative versus ambulatory care.
Familiarize data collectors with protocols and tools for data collection
- Through exposure to real-life scenarios and tips on how to answer questions and address difficult situations, staff will become more comfortable with the data collection process.
- It is vital to make staff comfortable with data collection, as ‘discomfort’ and ‘anxiety’ are often cited as the top reservations in collecting sensitive demographic information from patients.
Ensure staff understand the purpose and scope of the project
- Staff and data collectors participating in the implementation of demographic data collection have indicated that they place significant importance on being able to understand project goals.
- Following multi-level mandates to collect demographic information in Massachusetts, healthcare providers often reported feeling frustrated with poor communication from management about the purpose of collecting the data and how it would improve the hospital’s work.
Training manuals must be able to address these goals. Staff and data collectors should have quick and easy access to training manual resources that should cover:
- Why we need to collect demographic data
- How to ask questions
- Resources for building skills to collect demographic data
- Supporting materials for collecting patient demographic data
Develop multimedia tools to illustrate an effective and time-efficient application of guidelines and protocols during the collection of demographic data. These tools may include an online guide and videos of sample interviews, featuring staff answering questions and handling difficult situations.
Role playing exercise
In previous training sessions on demographic data collection, role-playing and trainee participation were reported as the most helpful and informative components of training.
A strong focus on role playing exercises that involve data collectors will enable the team to give feedback and feel comfortable when asking sensitive questions.