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Archive for April, 2014

Maximizing Questionnaire Response Rates

The American Medical Association has specific recommendations for its authors about questionnaire response rates included in the JAMA Instructions for Authors. One of the guidelines is that survey studies should have sufficient response rates (generally at least 60%) and appropriate characterization of nonresponders to ensure that nonresponse bias does not threaten the validity of the findings. However, response rates to questionnaires have been declining over the past 20 years, as reported by the Pew Research Center in The Problem of Declining Response Rates. Fortunately, suggestions about increasing questionnaire response rates are available in two recent AEA365 blog posts that are open access:

Additional useful advice, such as making questionnaires short, personalizing your mailings, and sending full reminder packs to nonrespondents, is included in this open access article: Sahlqvist S, et al., “Effect of questionnaire length, personalisation and reminder type on response rate to a complex postal survey: randomised controlled trial.” BMC Medical Research Methodology 2011, 11:62.

MedlinePlus Connect now Supports ICD-10-CM!

MedlinePlus ConnectMedlinePlus Connect now supports queries using ICD-10-CM codes. Upon receiving a problem code request with an ICD-10-CM code, MedlinePlus Connect returns relevant, patient-friendly health information from MedlinePlus, Genetics Home Reference, and other reliable health resources. MedlinePlus Connect will continue to support ICD-9-CM and SNOMED CT codes for problem code requests.

Learn more on the MedlinePlus Connect Web application documentation and Web service documentation webpages!

April 2014 Issue of NIH News in Health is Now Available!

Cartoon of a “No-Smoking” sign in an open outdoor area, with nearby people enjoying a picnic lunch.Check out the April issue of NIH News in Health, the monthly newsletter bringing you practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research. In this issue:

  • Stamp Out Smoking: Tobacco-Free Living
    Most of us know that smoking is unhealthy. So why do so many people still do it? The answers are complex. Researchers have found effective ways to help people quit smoking—or prevent them from starting in the first place. The tricky part is putting these tools to use. We can all take steps to help stamp out smoking.
  • The Sting of Shingles: Vaccine, Treatments Reduce Risks
    If you’ve ever had chickenpox, you may be at risk for a painful disease called shingles as you grow older. Shingles is a sometimes-agonizing skin rash and nerve disease that’s caused by a virus. Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent shingles or ease its serious effects.
  • Nurse Staffing Affects Patient Safety
    Having well-educated nurses with fewer patients to care for can help reduce hospital deaths, a new study suggests. The findings can help hospitals make informed decisions about staff schedules and hiring.
  • Featured Website: Understanding Health News
    News stories about complementary approaches to health can sometimes be misleading. They might lack key details, or they may be confusing or conflicting. This site can help you assess news stories about complementary health approaches, so you can make informed decisions about your health.

NIH News in Health is available online in both HTML and PDF formats. Print copies are available free of charge for offices, clinics, community centers, and libraries within the U.S.

Visit the NIH News in Health Facebook page to suggest topics you’d like to see covered, or share what you find helpful about the newsletter!