Enhancing response rates in physician surveys: the limited utility of electronic options

Health Serv Res. 2011 Oct;46(5):1675-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2011.01261.x. Epub 2011 Apr 14.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alabama
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Health Services Research / methods
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Motivation*
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Postal Service
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Telefacsimile
  • Telephone