Background: Preventive vaccine uptake by adults in the United States is poor. For all reported preventive vaccines, the national rate of immunizations is lower for African Americans than for Whites, Hispanics or Asians. There is also a racial disparity in uptake of the vaccine for pathogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) with African American women being less likely to complete the three shot series. This study sought to determine if different information would be obtained from a group of young African American women responding to an internet based survey versus when that instrument was completed in-person at a medical venue. The subject matter of the survey was the willingness to participate in a study using a smartphone application aimed at improving HPV vaccine uptake.
Methods: A survey was administered to 40 young African American women aged 18-26 years, 19 seeking non-emergent care in an emergency department (ED) and 21 recruited online via a social networking site and email.
Results: Analyses utilizing an independent t-test and chi-square test (respectively) confirmed differences in the ED versus the internet population with regard to education (P=0.000 P=0.001), age at sexual debut (P=0.03; P=0.03), and payment source for health care (P=0.03; 0.09). The entire internet group had some college education, but 42.1% of the ED respondents had less than a college education. The ED group was less likely (31.6%) to rely on private insurance to pay for their care than the internet group (57.1%). Marginally significant findings between the two groups were noted with consistent sexual partner (P=0.08; P = 0.11). Most study participants were comfortable with an HPV application on their smartphone and used them frequently in both populations.
Conclusion: Study findings suggest there is significant variance in the education level, age at sexual debut, and payment source for healthcare among study subjects recruited in different populations based on settings and survey medium. However, superiority of the data collected from these two mediums cannot be confirmed. Further research is needed comparing delivery approaches of selfreported survey methods based on setting and medium.
Keywords: Emergency department, survey methodology, internet based surveys, face-to-face surveys, human papillomavirus, smartphone