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

1NOVA Research Company, Bethesda, MD, USA.
Evaluation & 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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    • "A response rate of at least 60 % is set as a minimum requirement for publication by some scientific journals [25]. However, there is a steady decline in response rates in published surveys of health care providers in the USA, and during 2005–2008 only about 35 % met the 60 % criteria and none in 2009 [26]. This was also true for postal surveys of healthcare professionals covering 1996 to 2005, where the response rate (350 studies, average response rate 58 %) was significantly lower than during the previous 10-year period. "
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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). "

    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Evaluation & the Health Professions
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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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