Health and Medical Surveys – Avoiding Biased Sampling of Your Patient Population

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When developing your medical or healthcare satisfaction survey you will want to give thought to random and biased sampling of your patient population. If it is your desire to generalize the findings in your survey to the total patient population, you will want a sample that is truly representative of that group.

Each member of the patient population must have an equal opportunity to be included in the healthcare survey sample or your results may be biased. A “random sample” is a true representation of the patient population that you wish to gather your desired information from.

A Biased Sample can have many causes

• Time based bias- Sampling patients from a particular time of day, week, month or year
• Location bias- Sampling patients from only a specific location, when more exist
• Follow up bias- Not following up with students that failed to respond to your survey

Defining your target patient population and specifying how the sample will be selected is critical to your medical survey success. Now that we have identified Random Samples and Biased Samples you are on your way to developing a healthcare survey and questionnaire that will give you the desired information you need for your medical research.

Random Sample: Each patient in the target population (all patients the survey can apply to) has an equal chance of being included in your healthcare or medical research survey

Biased Sample: Patients have an unequal chance being included in your healthcare or medical research survey