173547 Survey Response Rates by Method among EMS Providers

Monday, October 27, 2008

Patricia N. Schmuhl, BA , National EMSC Data Analysis Resource Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Heather Van Duker, MA , Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Kristin Lauria Gurley, MS , Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, Utah Department of Health, Salt Lake City, UT
Lenora Olson, MA, PhD , Intermountain Injury Control Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Objectives. Assess the response rates between different survey methods when surveying rural or urban Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Providers. Methods. The invitations to participate in the 31 question EMS Needs Assessment were sent by mail but differed in the following way: 1) respondents were sent a paper survey and asked to return it via the enclosed self-addressed envelope; 2) respondents were asked to complete the survey at the provided URL (web address); 3) respondents were mailed the paper survey with a self addressed stamped envelope and the URL and invited to complete the survey either way. This approach allowed us to compare response rates based on the three different methods with the common denominator of a mailed survey invitation. Results. The paper only option resulted in the highest response rate (37.2%), compared to both the web only and the choice of methods response rate of 28% (p<.0001). Overall, rural EMS Providers responded at a higher rate than urban EMS Providers (36.2% rural and 27.7% urban (p<.0001)). Rural EMS Providers responded at a higher rate for the paper method (n=124, 45%, p=0.0005) and when given a choice of a paper or web-based survey (n=93, 33%, p=0.004). However, there was no statistically significant difference between rural and urban response rates, when EMS Providers are only given the web option (p=0.200). Discussion. EMS Providers prefer a more traditional method (paper) when responding to a survey. Our results indicate that it is important to consider the audience before choosing a survey method.

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the pros and cons of deploying a paper-based survey vs a web-based survey. 2. Recognize the need to evaluate your target audience and survey objectives when deciding to use a web-based survey.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I do not have a conflict of interest.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.