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Optimizing patient-reported outcome and risk factor reporting from cancer survivors: a randomized trial of four different survey methods among colorectal cancer survivors

The goal of this study was to determine response rates and associated costs of different survey methods among colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors. 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. 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. 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. Our results demonstrate effective methods for capturing patient-reported outcomes, inform the relative benefits/disadvantages of the different methods, and identify future research directions.

Authors: Feigelson HS; McMullen CK; Madrid S; Sterrett AT; Powers JD; Blum-Barnett E; Pawloski PA; Ziegenfuss JY; Quinn VP; Arterburn DE; Corley DA

J Cancer Surviv. 2017 Jun;11(3):393-400. Epub 2017-01-13.

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