Patient Characteristics of Provider Survey Respondents: No Evidence of Nonresponse Bias

Jeanette Y. Ziegenfuss, Nilay D. Shah, Jiaquan Fan, Holly K. van Houten, James R. Deming, Steven A. Smith, Timothy J. Beebe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Surveys of physicians are an important tool to assess opinions and self-reported behaviors of this policy-relevant population. However, this population is notoriously difficult to survey and plagued with low and falling response rates. In order to evaluate the potential import of response rate, we examine the presence of nonresponse bias in a survey of physicians providing diabetes care that achieved a 36% response rate. Unlike other studies examining differences in individual characteristics for responding and nonresponding physicians, we also assess differences with respect to aggregate patient demographic, clinical, and behavioral characteristics. We are unable to demonstrate nonresponse bias, even with what could be construed as a relative low response rate. Nonetheless as the threat of nonresponse bias can never be completely assuaged, we believe that it should be monitored as a matter of course in physician surveys and offer a new dimension by which it can be evaluated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-516
Number of pages10
JournalEvaluation and the Health Professions
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was funded in part by support from the Mayo Health System Practice-Based Research Network.


  • physician surveys
  • respondents
  • response rates
  • survey
  • survey data


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