Optimizing patient-reported outcome and risk factor reporting from cancer survivors: a randomized trial of four different survey methods among colorectal cancer survivors
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PURPOSE: The goal of this study was to determine response rates and associated costs of different survey methods among colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors. METHODS: We assembled a cohort of 16,212 individuals diagnosed with CRC (2010-2014) from six health plans, and randomly selected 4000 survivors to test survey response rates across four mixed-mode survey administration protocols (in English and Spanish): arm 1, mailed survey with phone follow-up; arm 2, interactive voice response (IVR) followed by mail; arm 3; email linked to web-based survey with mail follow-up; and arm 4, email linked to web-based survey followed by IVR. RESULTS: Our overall response rate was 50.2%. Arm 1 had the highest response rate (59.9%), followed by arm 3 (51.9%), arm 2 (51.2%), and arm 4 (37.9%). Response rates were higher among non-Hispanic whites in all arms than other racial/ethnic groups (p < 0.001), among English (51.5%) than Spanish speakers (36.4%) (p < 0.001), and among higher (53.7%) than lower (41.4%) socioeconomic status (p < 0.001). Survey arms were roughly comparable in cost, with a difference of only 8% of total costs between the most (arm 2) and least (arm 3) expensive arms. CONCLUSIONS: Mailed surveys followed by phone calls achieved the highest response rate; email invitations and online surveys cost less per response. Electronic methods, even among those with email availability, may miss important populations including Hispanics, non-English speakers, and those of lower socioeconomic status. IMPLICATIONS FOR CANCER SURVIVORS: Our results demonstrate effective methods for capturing patient-reported outcomes, inform the relative benefits/disadvantages of the different methods, and identify future research directions.
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