Health Care Provider Surveys in the United States, 2000-2010: A Review

1NOVA Research Company, Bethesda, MD, USA.
Evaluation &amp the Health Professions (Impact Factor: 1.91). 03/2013; 36(1):106-26. DOI: 10.1177/0163278712474001
Source: PubMed


Surveys of health care providers (e.g., physicians and other health care professionals) are an important tool for assessing health care practices and the settings in which care is delivered. Although multiple methods are used to increase survey data quality, little is known about which methods are most commonly implemented. We reviewed 117 large surveys described in literature published between 2000 and 2010, examining descriptions of survey design features, survey implementation, and response rates. Despite wide variation, the typical provider survey selected practicing physicians as respondents, used the American Medical Association Masterfile as sample frame, included mail as both mode of initial contact and questionnaire administration mode, and offered monetary incentives to respondents. Our review revealed inconsistency of documentation concerning procedures used, and a variety of response rate calculation methods, such that it was difficult to determine practices that maximize response rate. We recommend that reports provide more comprehensive documentation concerning key methodological features to improve assessment of survey data quality.

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Available from: Gordon B Willis, Dec 14, 2014
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    • "Also needed is a better understanding of the mechanics of designing and fielding provider surveys. Recent systematic reviews published in EHP identified a number of incentive-and designbased interventions potentially successful in improving survey participation among physicians and nurses (McLeod et al., 2013; VanGeest & Johnson, 2011; VanGeest, Johnson, & Welch, 2007). Gaps remain, however, with a recent National Cancer Institute workshop identifying four critical areas in the design and fielding of physician surveys specifically, including points of contact and response modes, response incentives, and questionnaire design burden (Klabunde et al., 2012). "

    Evaluation &amp the Health Professions 09/2013; 36(3):275-8. DOI:10.1177/0163278713498006 · 1.91 Impact Factor
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    • "Researchers should more rigorously evaluate both the quality of their sample frame and the representativeness of their respondents. McLeod et al. (2013) describe inconsistent and at times misleading methods for calculating and reporting response rates, presumably in order to meet the high expectations of journals. Training researchers to assess and report on the quality and representativeness of their data will be more valuable to science than merely requiring a fixed level of response. "
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    ABSTRACT: The versatility, speed, and reduced costs with which web surveys can be conducted with clinicians are often offset by low response rates. Drawing on best practices and general recommendations in the literature, we provide an evidence-based overview of methods for conducting online surveys with providers. We highlight important advantages and disadvantages of conducting provider surveys online and include a review of differences in response rates between web and mail surveys of clinicians. When administered online, design-based features affect rates of survey participation and data quality. We examine features likely to have an impact including sample frames, incentives, contacts (type, timing, and content), mixed-mode approaches, and questionnaire length. We make several recommendations regarding optimal web-based designs, but more empirical research is needed, particularly with regard to identifying which combinations of incentive and contact approaches yield the highest response rates and are the most cost-effective.
    Evaluation &amp the Health Professions 09/2013; 36(3):352-81. DOI:10.1177/0163278713496630 · 1.91 Impact Factor
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    • "The two principal design-based interventions shown to be effective in improving participation—survey mode and follow-up—are also consistent with previous research. Evidence supporting mode effects in clinician survey participation is substantial (Klabunde et al., 2012; McLeod et al., 2013; VanGeest et al., 2007; VanGeest & Johnson, 2011). Despite the dramatic increase in use of information technologies generally in our society, postal surveys still typically result in higher average return rates among health professionals. "
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    ABSTRACT: Surveys involving health care providers are characterized by low and declining response rates (RRs), and researchers have utilized various strategies to increase survey RRs among health professionals. Based on 48 studies with 156 subgroups of within-study conditions, a multilevel meta-regression analysis was conducted to summarize the effects of different strategies employed in surveys of health professionals. An estimated overall survey RR among health professionals was 0.53 with a significant downward trend during the last half century. Of the variables that were examined, mode of data collection, incentives, and number of follow-up attempts were all found to be significantly related to RR. The mail survey mode was more effective in improving RR, compared to the online or web survey mode. Relative to the non-incentive subgroups, subgroups receiving monetary incentives were more likely to respond, while nonmonetary incentive groups were not significantly different from non-incentive groups. When number of follow-ups was considered, the one or two attempts of follow-up were found to be effective in increasing survey RR among health professionals. Having noted challenges associated with surveying health professionals, researchers must make every effort to improve access to their target population by implementing appropriate incentive- and design-based strategies demonstrated to improve participation rates.
    Evaluation &amp the Health Professions 09/2013; 36(3):382-407. DOI:10.1177/0163278713496425 · 1.91 Impact Factor
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