Enhancing Response Rates in Physician Surveys: The Limited Utility of Electronic Options

Authors

  • Keith Nicholls,

    1. USA Polling Group, University of South Alabama, 5591 USA Drive North, Room 222, Mobile, AL 36688
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    • Address correspondence to Keith Nicholls, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Co-Director, USA Polling Group, University of South Alabama, 5591 USA Drive North, Room 222, Mobile, AL 36688; e-mail: knicholls@usouthal.edu. Kathryn Chapman, DrPA, Director, Cancer Prevention Program, Program Manager, Alabama FITWAY Colorectal Cancer Prevention Program, is with the Bureau of Family Health Services, Alabama Department of Public Health, Montgomery, AL. Thomas Shaw, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Co-Director, is with USA Polling Group, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL. Allen Perkins, M.D., M.P.H., Professor and Chairman, is with Department of Family Medicine, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL. Margaret Murray Sullivan, M.S., Deputy Director for Project Management, is with the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, Mobile, AL. Susan Crutchfield, B.S.N., Coordinator is with the MCI Community and Physician Outreach, USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, Mobile, AL. Eddie Reed, M.D., Clinical Director, is with the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, Mobile, AL.

  • Kathryn Chapman,

    1. Bureau of Family Health Services, Alabama Department of Public Health, Montgomery, AL
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  • Thomas Shaw,

    1. USA Polling Group, University of South Alabama, 5591 USA Drive North, Room 222, Mobile, AL 36688
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  • Allen Perkins,

    1. Department of Family Medicine, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL
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  • Margaret Murray Sullivan,

    1. USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, Mobile, AL
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  • Susan Crutchfield,

    1. MCI Community and Physician Outreach, USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, Mobile, AL
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  • Eddie Reed

    1. USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, Mobile, AL
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Abstract

Objective. To evaluate the utility of offering physicians electronic options as alternatives to completing mail questionnaires.

Data Source. A survey of colorectal cancer screening practices of Alabama primary care physicians, conducted May–June 2010.

Study Design. In the follow-up to a mail questionnaire, physicians were offered options of completing surveys by telephone, fax, email, or online.

Data Collection Method. Detailed records were kept on the timing and mode of completion of surveys.

Principal Findings. Eighty-eight percent of surveys were returned by mail, 10 percent were returned by fax, and only 2 percent were completed online; none were completed by telephone or email.

Conclusions. Offering fax options increases response rates, but providing other electronic options does not.

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