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Am J Emerg Med. 2001 May;19(3):192-5.

The demographics of e-mail for emergency medicine research.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Box #8, Morristown Memorial Hospital, Morristown, NJ 07960, USA.


Escalating costs of research combined with increasing use of e-mail by emergency physicians (EP), justifies studying whether electronic surveying (ES) is a valid methodology for research. Our primary study object is to delineate the demographics of EP with e-mail. Secondary objectives are to ascertain ES response rates and to identify response bias between "individual" versus "bulk" e-mailings. The 1999 American College of Emergency Physicians Membership Guide identified a pool of e-mail addresses. Of the 1,752 EP surveyed, 1,386 (79%) had valid e-mail addresses and 574 responded. A response rate of 41% questions the validity of ES for research. Demographic data of EP regarding mean age (38.2 years); gender (82.4% men); title (86.8% MD); practice (87% ED); practice location (49.6% urban); training (56% EM residency); research participation (65.5%); screening e-mail (7%); is representative of EP overall. Finally, comparison of individual versus bulk e-mail to survey participants showed a 13.6% (5.5-21.7; 95% CI) improvement in overall response.

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