Imagine this: you are an administrator in a large health care organization. You have been charged with developing a phone campaign to reach out to over 200,000 female patients to provide health care reminders. You have worked very hard for the past few weeks, selecting a call service, approving the call scripts, preparing and obtaining approval for the expense of the campaign. All the stars are aligned and you are ready to move forward. You email IT to have them prepare the patient database for delivery to the call service. Then it happen…
The phone rings.
The guy in IT says, “I was pulling together your patient database, but I noticed something strange. We only have phone numbers for about 16,000 patients. Some of this data is really old too. You still want me to send this out?”
What do you do? Call the whole campaign off? Send the database out and hope no one notices how bad the response rate is?
The above is a real-world example of a “dirty database”. People are dynamic – they move, change phone numbers, get married, get divorced, pass away and do all kinds of things that make the data in your database go stale or “dirty”. Other times the data may not have been captured by your own organization.
According to a recent article in Nonprofit Quarterly, approximately 15% of people move households every year. Within four years, 30 to 40 percent will have moved or died.
The solution to the dirty database problem is to engage with a partner who can periodically cleanse your database. These partners have a variety of tools and verification databases at their disposal to cross-check and update patient contact information. Large databases of greater than 100,000 contacts or organizations that reach out frequently to patients should have their databases cleansed annually.
Data integrity is the key to any successful patient outreach; you can improve response rates while lowering marketing costs. Taking the time now to cleanse your data will prevent the potential disaster above from happening in your organization.
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