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Member Health Survey

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Survey Description

Survey years: Surveys were conducted in 1993, 1996, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, and 2011. For the 2014 cycle, survey data collection was split over two years (2014 and 2015). In 2017, data will be collected in one year with a survey sample half as large as previous surveys.

Survey administration: A print questionnaire is mailed up to three times to enhance survey response rate. In some survey years, the final mailing was a slightly shorter version of the questionnaires. Beginning in 2005, individuals were also able to complete the survey online at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research’s (DOR) secure website. (Note: the DOR website is totally separate from the Health Plan’s website so that survey data cannot be directly accessed by anyone outside the DOR. See Methodology section for more detail.

Survey content:

  • Sociodemographic characteristics
  • Health status and health conditions
  • Health-related behaviors, psychosocial risks, and social/economic risk factors
  • Functional health, falls, quality of life, use of community-based services, and usual type of transportation (members aged 65 and older)
  • Use of selected over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medicines
  • Use of dietary supplements and herbal medicines (starting in 1999)
  • Use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) (starting in 1999)
  • Use of selected preventive services
  • Access to and use of digital communication tools (computer, mobile phone, Internet, email)
  • Preferred methods for receiving health information and health education

Survey sample: Independent stratified random samples of adult members are selected for each survey cycle, which means there are very few members who have data from more than one survey cycle. For the 1993 through 2011 survey samples, we selected age-sex stratified random samples of 2100-2400 men and women aged 20 and over from each of our 19 largest medical center service populations. To be eligible for the survey, individuals needed to be English speakers, members for at least 6 months as of the time of the survey, and not have a history of dementia. In 2008-2015, the total number of men and women in the starting survey sample was approximately 42,000, with final respondent samples of over 16,000 adults. In 2017, the starting sample will be 22,000 and we hope to have a final sample of 7,000-8,000 since we will be oversampling young adults and racial minorities.

Response rate: The overall response rate for the 2014/2015 survey was 38 percent, with significantly higher response among members aged 65 and over (approximately 65%). Information about past response rates can be found in the Methodology section.

Respondent weighting factors: Similar to other population health surveys, survey respondents are assigned weighting factors. These are used to make the survey results better reflect the age-gender composition of the medical center service population and the age-gender-geographic composition of the KPNC region. Survey weighting factors are also created for use when data from two or more survey years are combined.

Number of people who have participated in the Member Health Survey since 1993: As of the 2011 Member Health Survey, the combined respondent database (excluding people who were in more than one survey) contained information about nearly 124,000 race-ethnically diverse adults spread across seven survey years.