Every healthcare provider wants to deliver the best patient care. With the rise of cloud-based healthcare solutions and high patient expectations, the pressure is on to deliver a more personalised, consumer-like patient experience. One of the ways to achieve this is through effective management of patient demographics.
What Are Patient Demographics?
Patient demographics are sets of data healthcare professionals use to segment patients into distinct groups and understand them better. This data is descriptive about patients and their lives.
Some examples of patient demographics are:
- Biological sex
- Contact information
- Number of children
The intention with demographics is to segment audiences with similar characteristics into profiles. Hospitals and practices can also go beyond these general demographics. Some use medical history, insurance, and billing information to help segment their patients.
Why is Patient Data Important?
Patient data is the key to an excellent patient experience. It allows for better communication, healthcare equality, care, cultural competency, and more positive health outcomes. It also helps to streamline medical processes. Healthcare providers must collect, segment, and use patient data wisely to reap the benefits.
It Helps You Deliver Personalised Care
The more you know about a patient, the more you can tailor care to their needs. For example, a patient’s location might impact their ability to access emergency medical care. Their age is a good indicator of what their cholesterol level should be and whether they need a yearly flu jab. Their race, as was the case with the Covid-19 pandemic, might show they’ll be disproportionately affected by certain diseases.
You Can Better Target Your Campaigns
You can increase loyalty and patient satisfaction by using patient demographics to send targeted messages. Using data to plan relevant campaigns means you can reach patients with timely, engaging, and helpful content.
For example, you can share the latest information on ways to stop smoking with smokers. Alternatively, you could send reminders about telehealth services to patients who live further away.
Targeted content like this will keep patients engaged and informed about their health.
Data Provides Insight on Improvement Areas
Practices and hospitals can use feedback from patient satisfaction surveys to supplement their patient demographic data. These insights help to improve systems and services and better understand patients based on their feedback. For example, if patients tell you they struggle because they speak another language, you could install check-in kiosks with multiple language options.
How to Capture Patient Demographics
Some practices and hospitals have digital kiosks for patients to check in for their appointments. To complete check-in, patients need to provide demographic data like name and date of birth to confirm their identity. As the patient is already engaged with the process, it's a good opportunity to confirm their data is up to date or to ask further questions to expand your bank of patient demographics.
Patients can also check in via a mobile app if they'd like to be more discreet or prefer using their mobile phone.
This saves staff manually capturing data and adds it to a central system ready for analysis and segmentation.
Through Patient Surveys
Using healthcare technology, you can send automated appointment reminders, healthcare campaigns, and surveys to patients via their preferred communication channels.
Before you send your first survey, make sure you know how to craft the questions. They shouldn't be leading, should allow patients to answer fairly, and give them the opportunity to provide feedback.
These surveys are a perfect time to learn how you can improve the patient experience and collect patient data to give patients a more personalised experience.
Tips For Collecting Patient Data
- Data is only useful when it’s accurate. Help patients keep their information up to date and only keep what you need.
- Only ask relevant questions that’ll help you to improve their experience. Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of aggravating patients and achieving the opposite of what you set out to do.
- Ensure you’re storing and handling data to the standards set out in the Privacy Act 1988 and Australian Privacy Principles (APPs).
- Have the technology in place to collate, analyse, store, and back up data.
Capturing patient demographics is one thing but harnessing them to benefit your practice and patients is another. Use technology to your advantage, listen to your patients, and focus on the information you need to improve the patient experience. Follow these principles and you’ll be well on your way to providing the best possible care for your patients.Back to blog