Prospective comparison of endoscopy patient satisfaction surveys: e-mail versus standard mail versus telephone

Am J Gastroenterol. 2001 Dec;96(12):3312-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2001.05331.x.


Objectives: The dramatic growth of the Internet holds potential for use in survey distribution. Comparisons of electronic mail (e-mail) to traditional survey techniques are lacking. We compared standard mail, telephone, and e-mail modes of endoscopy satisfaction survey administration with respect to response rate, timeliness of response, response content, and cost-efficiency of responses.

Methods: An endoscopy satisfaction questionnaire consisting of seven core items from the modified Group Health Association of America-9 survey was distributed to patients after routine outpatient endoscopy. Patients were randomized to receive the questionnaire by standard mail, telephone, or e-mail. Response rates and findings in the three groups were compared. The "nonresponders" to the standard mail and e-mail surveys were subsequently contacted by telephone to determine their level of satisfaction.

Results: The phone survey response rate (90%) was higher than e-mail (70%) or standard mail (85%), although e-mail was the most cost-efficient mode of survey delivery. There was no significant difference in satisfaction scores among the three groups. Nonresponders were significantly more satisfied than "responders."

Conclusions: A survey technique utilizing e-mail with subsequent follow-up by telephone to nonresponders appears to be the most cost-efficient way to deliver a questionnaire. The satisfaction levels of the responders may underestimate the overall satisfaction of the population being surveyed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Colonoscopy
  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Endoscopy* / standards
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Postal Service
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires