Objectives: To determine if the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) is a unique and valuable MCH data source and an effective mechanism for states to collect MCH data, and to assess if recent changes in it have improved efficiency and flexibility.
Methods: Each component of the PRAMS methodology is described: sampling and stratification, data collection, questionnaire, and data management and weighting. To assess effectiveness, we calculated response rates, contact rates, cooperation rates, refusal rates, and questionnaire completion rates. Logistic regression was used to examine the relationship between maternal and infant characteristics and the likelihood of response. Four criteria were defined to measure improvement in PRAMS functioning.
Results: Overall response rates for the 11 states in 1996 ranged from 66% to 80%. Cooperation rates were high (85-99%), with contact rates somewhat lower (73-87%). Response rates were higher for women who were older, White, married, had more education, were first-time mothers, and had a normal-birthweight infant. In all states, parity and education were the most consistent predictors of response, followed by marital status and race. Between 1988-1990 and 1996-1999, the number of states and areas participating in PRAMS increased from 6 to 23, response rates improved, and the time for a state to start data collection and to obtain a weighted dataset both decreased.
Conclusions: PRAMS is a unique and valuable MCH data source. The mail/telephone methodology used in PRAMS is an effective means of reaching most women who have recently given birth in the 11 states examined; however, some population subgroups are not reached as well as others. The system has become more efficient and flexible over time and more states now participate.