By Jennifer A. Kim, MD, PhD
Surveys are a crucial tool for polling our NCS community regarding all aspects of our research and practice. The NCS Research Operations Subcommittee (ROSC) [Editor’s note: see ROSC list below] is committed to ensuring transparent and rapid review for all researchers wanting to utilize the membership for their various studies. By developing a newly vetted formal review process, we hope to distribute of high-quality, targeted surveys that are valuable to the members of the NCS community, while also increasing the response rates, a crucial aspect for all survey researchers.
The new process is divided into four parts and focuses on responsible parties and specific timelines. The NCS staff and the members of the NCS ROSC will work closely together to ensure ongoing communication between NCS and the investigator. This new process will be closely monitored by a small group of ROSC members (the survey work group) and will be revised based on the needs and requests of all working parties. The new Policies & Procedures document has been approved by the Board of Directors and will be published soon.
To help answer some common questions about the new process, I interviewed Keri Kim, PharmD, MS-CTS, BCPS, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy at University of Illinois Chicago, who leads the survey work group in the effort to improve the survey submission process.
If a member is interested in submitting a survey for distribution to the NCS membership, who should they notify and is there an application form?
The investigator should visit the NCS website and navigate to the Research tab, then Research Surveys section of the website. There, they can find an online application form to complete. If they have any questions regarding the survey process, investigators can contact the NCS ROSC coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What documents and information must be submitted by the investigator for their survey to be reviewed?
Via the online form, investigators will need to provide the following information:
- Investigator contact information: name, email, title, institution, phone number
- Description of the background and goals of the survey (maximum 250-word count)
- Description of the impact and importance of the survey
- IRB approval date and a copy of the institution approval letter
- Specify the target audience (all members, or restricted to MD, AP, RN, pharmacists, United States only or international)
- Microsoft Word or PDF document of the survey questions
- Link to the online survey
- Specify the estimated duration necessary to complete the survey (in minutes)
- List other routes of survey dissemination in the past, present and future
- Specify any conflicts of interest
- List the collection of any protected health information or other identifiers
- List funding source, if applicable
Who reviews the survey application?
Members of the survey work group from the ROSC will review the surveys.
What criteria are used to judge the approval or denial of the survey?
Surveys will be approved based on their scientific validity, novelty, impact and interest to the NCS community while providing key data for the research progress of the investigator.
If approved, how rapidly will the survey be distributed to members? When will reminders be sent for members to participate?
Once surveys are received by the NCS ROSC coordinator, they will be distributed to reviewers within three business days. The reviewers will review the surveys within one week and a final decision or recommendation will be sent to the investigator via email. Thus, the goal time from submission to email notification is targeted to be about 10 days.
Approved surveys will be posted to members via the NCS website, social media, online communities and a monthly email to the target NCS membership. If the survey is targeted at a subgroup of the membership (specified by the investigator), the survey may only be distributed to that subgroup via the online communities. Members will receive a one-month email reminder. The survey will be available to all members for a total of two months.
What responses/data are collected by NCS vs. directly to the investigator once the survey is distributed?
The responses are collected directly by the investigator with limited QI data reported to NCS immediately after closing of the study i.e., number of participants, whether incentive offered to participants, whether incentive provided to raffle winner when applicable). Then, one year after the completion of the study, the investigator is required to submit a final report on the impact of the survey (e.g., grant, publication, presentation and/or process improvement).
Is there a way to encourage participation?
In addition to a more widespread advertisement of the surveys using social media and the online communities, the survey work group encourages investigators to provide an incentive. For example, participants may voluntarily submit their names into a raffle system for one final incentive drawn from the submitted names (e.g. a gift card or similar).
Is there a cost associated with a survey submission?
The following fees will be charged (non-NCS members only):
- NCS Members Free
- Non-NCS members, Non-Industry $500
- Industry $2,500
We hope that this new, transparent process is clearer to all interested investigators. The survey work group of ROSC will track the timelines and process over the next six-12 months to ensure compliance to help fine-tune the process. We want to encourage interested NCS members or non-members to submit surveys via this new process.
NCS Research Operations Subcommittee
Chair Keri Kim, PharmD, MS-CTS, BCPS
Jonathan Elmer, MD, MS
Romer Geocadin, MD
George A. Lopez, MD, PhD
Matthew Maas, MD, MS
Mohammed Rehman, DO
Wendy Ziai, MD, MPH
George A. Lopez, MD, PhD
Shraddha Mainali, MD
Susanne Muehlschlegel, MD, MPH FNCS, FCCM
Andrew Naidech, MD, MSPH
Chethan Venkatasubba Rao, MD, FNCS