When planning your healthcare survey or medical research survey, you will need to identify the group of patients that you would like to gather your data from. Because the target population (all patients that had a surgery in a particular hospital) can be very large, it can be cost prohibitive to gather data from all of them. In this case, it is common to take a sample of the total group and use it to generalize the findings to the target population.
Here’s how it works:
Target Population – The complete set of patients that you are interested in surveying
Example: All healthcare patients that had surgery at Local Hospital in 2010/2011
Proposed Sample – The actual patients in that group that you plan to gather the necessary information from
Example: One of every twenty patients. Five percent of the total possible patients (total population) that had a surgery.
Actual Sample – The actual set of patients that responded to the healthcare survey
Example: Four of Five patients responded to the healthcare questionnaire. Four percent of the total number (total population) of patients that had a surgery
Now that we’ve addressed sample size and target population, there are many factors that go into determining how you will sample your target patient or user population. In our next few posts, we will review some sampling methods so that you can develop the best healthcare survey or medical research survey for your needs.