Getting a better response rate

We recently received a fairly blistering e-mail blasting us for the relatively low response rate to this year's Annual Physician's Survey. Actually, we thought 16.6 percent was pretty good—of course, more would be better.

I know we're not alone in our struggle to get higher response rates to surveys; I heard all kinds of grumbling about it at the Alliance meeting in January, but not a lot of solutions. One that I heard during a session on practical strategies for outcomes measurement was to include something lumpy in the envelope. The session leaders said that they had success with putting a piece of candy in the envelope along with the survey; they‘ll open it just to see what the lump is. Once they open it, they‘re somewhat engaged with it, and you have a better shot at them filling it out.

Any other ideas? We include a buck, but I doubt that's much of an incentive to fill the thing out (yes, we keep it short and sweet). Seriously, I think this is something we all struggle with.

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