Provider surveys draw on the records of care. They offer many advantages over interviews:
They come from the records of care and consequently summarize the observations and conclusions of medical personnel--physicians, nurses and technicians.
They include the results of clinical tests
They are contemporaneous with reported conditions and do not rely on memory typically a limitation of survey interviews.
Provider surveys also have a number of limitations:
Provider surveys almost always involve compiling information from the records maintained by health care providers.
The quality of compilation procedures and efforts to standardize diverse sources are key elements contributing to the validity and usefulness of the data.
The records of care are compiled to record specific transactions—the observations of a case that presents in a medical provider’s offices—and typically do not follow a structured protocol. As such, provider surveys abstract structured data from an unstructured source.
Stated directly—these surveys cannot summarize observations that are not recorded by medical staff as a byproduct of the service they provide.