Background: The Osteopathic Survey of Health Care in America (OSTEOSURV) is a decennial national telephone survey. Its goals are to monitor longitudinal trends in awareness, beliefs, utilization, and patient satisfaction relating to osteopathic physicians and to assess beliefs and attitudes regarding contemporary health care issues in the United States. The questionnaire was validated during the administrations of OSTEOSURV-I and OSTEOSURV-II in 1998 and 2000, respectively. In OSTEOSURV 2010, the contemporary health care issues of interest are patient-centered care and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.
Methods: The target population was household residents of the United States aged 18 years or older. A total of 10,308 random landline telephone numbers were dialed using a computer-assisted telephone interviewing system to acquire 1000 completed interviews between July 23, 2010, and October 1, 2010. The response, cooperation, and contact rates as defined by the American Association for Public Opinion Research were comparable to those of other national telephone surveys. The survey provides an estimated margin of error no greater than 3% to 4% for both general items and for those relating to the subset of respondents claiming to be aware of osteopathic physicians. Because respondents were older and more likely to be female than referents in the general population, the observed responses will be weighted by age and sex to reflect the US Census estimates for persons aged 18 years or older in 2010.
Discussion: OSTEOSURV 2010 was successfully fielded as the latest national telephone survey relevant to osteopathic medicine and contemporary US health care issues. Data analysis should yield important new findings relating to osteopathic physicians, patient-centered care, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that may not be readily observed through other national health care data sets. While underrepresented in this survey, which excluded cell phone-only participants, young adult respondents were reflective of their national age referents with regard to health insurance coverage and general health status. Thus, it appears likely that statistical weighting by age and sex of the OSTEOSURV 2010 data will minimize potential bias in estimates of health-related items. Rapidly evolving technology and sociocultural transitions will necessitate changes in the design of OSTEOSURV 2020.