Population analysis data reveals information about populations and groups.
Knowing how to collect and use it can help your chiropractic practice, help with business planning, research, and more. Chiropractors who create their own plans for collecting and using data can start making the most of it.
To start using population data, first you’ll need
a data set. From there, you’ll need a use for it. Once you know how to use it,
you should start putting your uses for data into practice and asking patient
permission before you add to your data. Over time, you can build and protect
your own data set or use one collected by someone else.
In this article, you can find out more about what
it takes to put data to work for your practice.
If you don’t already have a data set to work with, you will have to build your own. Using protected patient information to build population data sets requires that you obtain permission from the patients who are involved—so be sure to ask them, first. Get signed, written permission for using their data in research, and spell-out exactly how you plan to use it.
Want to use an existing collection of data? There
are many different places you may find valuable data, such as:
- Public datasets: Some data
collections are available to the public for research or were collected by
government agencies and are open for use. Check
out some of the public data resources on this University of
Minnesota list, for instance.
- Registry of Research Data Repositories:
Information about over 2,000 different data repositories that are available for
researchers to use.
- Data.gov: A resource for government data. Find
population statistics and other government data collections here.
- Rural Health Information Hub
- Colleges, universities and
healthcare schools: Obtaining data from an educational institution is one
possibility. If you learn about a database used by a particular school for a
research project and you’re interested in doing your own research using that
data, you can always reach out to the study’s authors for information and
possible permission for use if they own or created the database.
- Libraries: Totally stumped on
where to go? Ask a research librarian at your local college or library for
suggestions on where to start finding the data you need.
By finding an existing database, you can avoid the hassle of having to collect data yourself. Data collection must be done carefully according to scientific and legal standards. For instance, you’ll need to make sure your data collection doesn’t violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
And you’ll want to set some standards for how you collect it—record information accurately, treat all data the same way, decide how you’ll treat estimates and rounding-up or down, etc.
Using data in your practice
Once you have the data, how you use it can vary
depending on the type of project or research you’re doing. You may decide to
sit down and come up with a hypothesis, or theory about the data, then begin
looking for trends.
This can even help you with your business. If you
observe new ongoing trends, you can come up with the right responses to them
and act accordingly.
A few considerations for research:
- Questions or ideas of your own: Do
you have any questions you’ve asked yourself about the population that you’d
like to find an answer to? Any concerns, thoughts, or ideas?
- Gaps you see in existing research:
Are you still left with any lingering questions you can’t find answers to? See
if it’s feasible and a good idea to explore additional research in that area.
- Can you contribute something new:
Is there anything you can contribute new research to? Do you need to reach out
to anyone or collaborate with other doctors?
- Does your project idea need
funding or additional resources?
Thoughts on using data in business planning:
- Population changes: Do you notice
any changes? Are these changes something you’ll need to prepare your business
for? Is there additional expertise you’ll need, are there key positions you’ll
need to hire for if these trends continue?
- Insurance coverage: Are you
noticing insurance coverage trends you’ll need to prepare for?
- Care use and participation: Are
patients coming in more or less often overall? How are they participating in
Data collection and reporting for government
requirements, insurers, and CMS:
- Find out what other chiropractors
are using in your community and what data is available for reporting.
- Ask your EHR vendor about
upgrades, add-ons, or special features to help you with collecting and
reporting required data.
Whether it’s for your own business planning
purposes or for research, knowing how to use data is a valuable skill in
today’s chiropractic community. It helps you stay at the forefront of your
field and make better decisions.
Shryock, T. “How to find the data you need for value-based care reporting.” Medical Economics Blog. http://www.medicaleconomics.com/medical-economics-blog/how-find-data-you-need-value-based-care-reporting. Published: January 2018. Accessed: January 2019.