Caffeine, cajoling, and other strategies to maximize clinician survey response rates

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine; Meyers Primary Care Institute

Publication Date


Document Type



Breast Neoplasms; Data Collection; Female; Health Maintenance Organizations; *Health Services Research; Humans; Postal Service; Questionnaires; *Research Design; Uterine Cervical Neoplasms


Health Services Research | Primary Care


An ongoing objective in health services research is to increase response rates to clinician surveys to ensure generalizability of findings. Three HMOs in the Cancer Research Network participated in a primary care clinician survey to better understand organizational characteristics affecting adoption and implementation of breast and cervical cancer screening guidelines. A four-stage data collection strategy was implemented to maximize response. This included careful attention to survey design and layout, extensive piloting, choice of token incentive, use of "local champions," and denominator management. An overall response rate of 91% was attained, ranging from 83 to 100% among the plans (N = 621). Although the response rate after the second stage of data collection met commonly used standards, the authors argue for the four-stage method due to the possibility of differences when comparing early and late responders. This is important when multiple plans with differing structure and internal characteristics are surveyed.


Eval Health Prof. 2002 Jun;25(2):169-84.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Evaluation and the health professions

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID