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

Keywords. Physician surveys; survey methodology; multimodal surveys; response rates

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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