In many ways, community health focuses on public health as a whole. Community health workers and volunteers work to ensure that people from all socioeconomic backgrounds can still access services, doctors, and other vital resources.
A young mother who’s pregnant can find help. A young man with autism can gain access to an occupational therapist to help him transition to work successfully. An elderly couple can move into an assisted living apartment complex that receives community outreach for activities and doctors for health screenings.
These are just a handful of examples of what makes community health so different from other healthcare disciplines. Here, it is community-focused and community-driven, as compared to purely patient-focused. So how does patient experience (PX) differ here, and why is collecting patient data so crucial for community healthcare?
Because community experiences, distilled through individual patient/customer experience data, can help determine where resources should be allocated, whether to change programs, and how to create better community outreach and improve public opinion.
So let’s look at the different aspects of patient experience data (PED) that can be collected to help plan for a better future.
Community Health Concerns that Data Can Help With
Every organization needs to collect data so that they can make inferences from correlations (or lack thereof). For community health services, data is particularly important, as those insights across socioeconomic or demographic groups help develop programs and plans that serve entire communities. Without these trends or exposed gaps in resources, beleaguered community leaders will struggle to know where they should invest limited resources, or how to focus on what will impact their community most.
Often, community and public health services do not have abundant resources available to test different programs to see what works and what doesn’t. In this community-based approach to healthcare, the needs of the many, by necessity, outweigh the needs of the few. The better the data, analytics, and reporting, the more power the community programs have to meet their communal needs.
To illustrate, here are some community health goals that show the importance of data collection and analytics:
- Educating community residents – This can be for preventative care, healthy behaviors, or even lifestyle changes.
- How data helps – Surveying your community is a great way to discover gaps in education or needs. Let’s say your neighborhood is low on preventative dental cleanings so you create more dental programs… but no one comes. Did you make sure they even knew they needed yearly cleanings?
- Improve access to healthcare resources, such as:
- Affordable healthcare (medical, dental, and mental health services)
- Insurance (Medicaid and Medicare enrollment)
- How data helps – You can collect more demographic information from your community and learn about their needs. And you can ensure they have access to the resources they need based on what they’ve shared with you!
- Reductions of expenses from emergency care or hospitalizations – With information and analytics, community leaders can target at-risk communities with specialized services carefully designed to prevent further deterioration of help, or the overburdening of emergency services. Precautions and prevention have become the name of the game here.
- How data helps – To predict, you need lots of data. If you’re only listening to a small sample, you create echo chambers where only the same voices are heard, and they fail to represent the whole. Make sure you are actively listening to your data and gaining meaningful insights that you can use.
- Addressing community mental, social, cultural, and physical health – Through programs like transportation, nutrition, and housing, community health focuses on making sure whole communities have what they need to grow.
- How data helps – Pointing resources where they are most needed depends on knowing the key drivers behind those needs.
- Essential services – To help plan better and provide essential services, communities gather information for annual screenings, social support, or even counseling.
- Intervention plans for resource gaps – Based primarily on meeting needs before they become issues.
- How data helps – Prevention is predicted often through trends, and data can make this connection!
- Identify top public health concerns within geographic areas – This is specifically important to waylay pandemics, spread accurate information, and provide support for rural areas that may not always have the same connections as others.
- How data helps – The ability to collect data offline can be a powerful tool to keep information flowing and make decisions.
Managing Community Health PX Data
In the new year, make sure you gain the data you need to get insights and predictions for your future. A robust healthcare experience management system can help you gather all the data you need to make intelligent decisions. It’s all about making your community as strong—and prepared—as possible.
Now is the best time to get feedback from your communities with powerful analytics that drive action. Don’t know where to start? Let’s get on a call—we’re here to support your efforts!