PODCAST: Design of Survey Questions during the Pandemic

June 25, 2021

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/podcasts/2021/20210625/20210625.htm

HOST: The quality of data in any health survey depends on the quality of the questions being asked, as well as the interpretation of those questions by the survey participants.  NCHS has a team in place that directly deals with those issues, the Collaborating Center for Question Design and Evaluation Research, or “CCQDER.”  CCQDER uses cognitive interviewing, a popular method for evaluating survey questions, by offering a detailed depiction of meanings and processes used by respondents to answer questions, which ultimately impact the survey data.  The sample of respondents in these studies is usually small, between 20 and 50 respondents.

This week, the CCQDER team hosted a webinar in which they discussed the design of survey questions about COVID-19, and the administration of those questions during the pandemic.  In addition to cognitive interviewing, the webinar also covered topics such as the Research and Development Survey, or “RANDS.”

As part of the Q and A segment of the webinar, Kristen Miller, the CCQDER Director, was asked whether standardized COVID questions had been developed by NCHS for outside researchers to use in their own studies:

KRISTEN MILLER: So traditionally it hasn’t been in our job scope to come up with standardized questions.  What we have done is – and maybe we want to rethink this for the future – but what we do do is we test these questions…  in these reports you will see specifically what each individual question captures. So what we would like to see people do is to get on, read these reports, see if this question – is this question capturing what I need it to capture – and then you making the decision, “Yes, I’m going to go with this question.”  So again, not anything standardized, but information provided to you so that you can choose the question that is best going to fit your research question.

HOST: The team was also asked what they would recommend in a rapid deployment situation in which there is not enough time to conduct a full evaluation of questions:

KRISTEN MILLER: I fully appreciate the problem.  And at the same time, I think that whenever we’re writing questions we need to have a concerted effort to have a plan how we’re going to go about question evaluation.  So it’s keeping track of the questions that go into the field, having mixed method or having these follow up pro questions that we had on RANDS to be able to see, “OK, this is going to be, there’s going to be error in this question, it’s going to be more error for less educated people, let’s keep that in mind as we interpret the data that’s coming in.”  But then, again, keeping track of what we’re asking so that we can improve our questions.  I mean, we’re so far into this pandemic I’d like to think our questions that we’re asking are much more improved from the questions that we began with when it first started.  So again, it’s just really having a question evaluation plan going forward.

HOST: The reaction to any survey question is highly personal and subjective, and the CCQDER team was asked about whether respondents have been impacted by their fear of COVID-19 when answering the questions.  Dr. Stephanie Willson of the CCQDER team described some of the challenges:

STEPHANIE WILLSON: Right, actually that’s a very astute observation because again the experience that people had – you had people who thought it was a hoax over here to people who were super-afraid of getting it, right?  So that absolutely was filtered through.  One example I didn’t get a chance to talk about was this need — there were questions about, “Did you need medical care for something but not get it because of the pandemic?”  So that kind of fear, the idea of need, was filtered through people’s experience with the pandemic and how afraid they were of catching it.  So certain things were missed, because suddenly now, “I don’t need to get a check-up, I don’t need a well-woman visit, I don’t need a cancer screening because of the pandemic.”  Where in non-pandemic times:  “Yes, I feel like I need those things.”  So that is an element of fear that absolutely did factor into interpretations.

HOST: Dr. Willson also discussed the differences between “remote interviewing” and traditional face-to-face interviews, and whether remote interviewing will continue into the post-pandemic era:

STEPHANIE WILLSON: The interesting thing was, even though I’ve been doing this for a long time, I had never done a virtual interview prior to the pandemic so I went into it kind of skeptical.  But I have to tell you, I’m a convert.  I really feel as though Zoom interviews really gave the same kind of quality cognitive interview data that face-to-face, in-person face-to-face interviews gave, so I think we should continue to use this.  I think that in certain situations, there’s a downside maybe in terms of socioeconomic status, but the upside to this would be geographical diversity that we can now explore that you can’t do… It takes so much more money to, let’s say, go regionally throughout the United States, for example.  And we did have actually geographic diversity in our sample here – not enough to make it count because we were trying to do it quickly but, yeah, I think it should continue to be used.

HOST: All CCQDER studies feature a final report that document the study findings, and are housed on a searchable, publicly accessible database called Q-Bank.

MUSICAL BRIDGE

HOST: Urgent care centers and health clinics located within grocery or retail stores are able to provide acute health care services for non-emergency visits, and they also can provide preventive care services, such as routine vaccinations. The availability and utilization of urgent care has risen dramatically in recent years.

A new report released this week examines urgent care center and retail health clinic visits among adults in the past year by sex and selected characteristics.  The report uses data from the 2019 National Health Interview Survey, and reveal that 1/3 of women and slightly over ¼ of men made one or more visit to an urgent care center or retail health clinic in the past year.

Older adults are less likely to use urgent care centers or retail health clinics than younger adults, and non-Hispanic white adults are more likely to have visited an urgent care center or retail health clinic at least once in the past year compared to Hispanic, non-Hispanic black or NH Asian adults.  In addition, adults with higher education levels are more likely to use urgent care centers or retail health clinics.

A second report came out this week which compares provisional or preliminary 2020 data with final 2019 and 2018 data on changes in the number of births in the United States by month and by state.  The report also includes data on the race and Hispanic origin of the mother, and sheds some light on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on fertility in the country.

From 2019 to 2020, the number of births declined for each month.  In comparison, from 2018 to 2019, the number of births declined for only 9 months of the year.  The largest declines in 2020 occurred in December, followed by August, and then October and November.  The number of births in the U.S. declined 8% more in December 2020 than it did the previous year.

In other words, the decline in births between 2019 and 2020 was larger in the second half of the year than in the first half of the year – 6% in the second half of the year vs. only 2% in the first half.   Between 2018 and 2019, the number declined 2% in the first half of the year and 1% in the second half.

Ultimately, more information on fertility during the pandemic won’t be known until 2021 data are available. The first provisional data for 2021 should be available by early Fall.


QuickStats: Percentage of Adults Who Did Not Get Needed Dental Care Because of Cost in the Past 12 Months, by Age Group and Sex — National Health Interview Survey, United States, 2019

June 25, 2021

In 2019, among adults aged ≥18 years, women (19.2%) were more likely than men (15.6%) not to get needed dental care because of cost in the past 12 months.

The difference by sex was seen for all age groups: 17.7% versus 13.1% among adults aged 18-29 years, 21.5% versus 16.7% among those aged 30–44 years, 21.5% versus 18.7% among those aged 45–64 years, and 14.4% versus 11.9% among those aged ≥65 years.

For both men and women, the percentages were highest among those aged 30–44 and 45–64 years.

For men, the percentages were lowest among those aged 18–29 years and ≥65 years; for women, the percentage was lowest among those aged ≥65 years.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics; National Health Interview Survey, 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7025a5.htm


Declines in Births by Month: United States, 2020

June 23, 2021

NCHS released a report that presents provisional 2020 and final 2019 and 2018 data on changes in the number of U.S. births by race and Hispanic origin of mother and by month of birth and state.

Findings:

  • From 2019 to 2020, the number of births for the United States declined for each month, with the largest declines occurring in December (8%), August (7%), and October and November (6%).
  • Larger declines in births were seen in the second half of 2020 (down 6%) compared with the first half (down 2%) of 2020.
  • The number of births declined in both the first and second 6 months of 2020 compared with 2019 for nearly all race and Hispanic-origin groups, with larger declines in the second half of 2020 compared with the first half of the year.
  • Births declined in 20 states in the first half of 2020, and in all states in the second half of 2020 (declines in 7 states were not significant).
  • Changes in births by race and Hispanic origin and by state were less pronounced from 2018 to 2019; the number of births declined for 9 months by 1%–3%.

 


Urgent Care Center and Retail Health Clinic Utilization Among Adults: United States, 2019

June 22, 2021

NCHS released a new report today that examines urgent care center and retail health clinic visits among adults in the past 12 months by sex and selected characteristics.

Key Findings:

  • In 2019, 32.3% of women and 26.0% of men had one or more visits to an urgent care center or retail health clinic in the past 12 months.
  • Urgent care center or retail health clinic utilization decreased as age increased for both men and women.
  • Among both men and women, non-Hispanic white adults were more likely to have one or more urgent care center or retail health clinic visits than Hispanic, non-Hispanic black, or non-Hispanic Asian adults.
  • Urgent care center or retail health clinic utilization increased with increasing education level.


QuickStats: Percentage of Adults Aged ≥50 Years Who Ever Received a Shingles Vaccination, by Race and Hispanic Origin and Sex — National Health Interview Survey, United States, 2019

June 18, 2021

mm7024a5-f

In 2019, 26.1% of adults aged ≥50 years had ever received a shingles vaccination.

Non-Hispanic White adults (29.3%) were more likely than non-Hispanic Asian (22.9%), non-Hispanic Black (17.9%), and Hispanic (15.1%) adults to have ever received a shingles vaccination.

Overall, women (27.5%) were more likely than men (24.5%) to be vaccinated, and this pattern was consistent for non-Hispanic White women and men (30.9% versus 27.4%) and for Hispanic women and men (17.2% versus 12.7%).

No statistically significant difference by sex was observed for non-Hispanic Asian women and men (23.2% versus 22.5%) or non-Hispanic Black women and men (17.7% versus 18.1%).

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7024a5.htm


PODCAST: NHANES Updates, Drug Overdose Deaths, and ER Visits From Motor Vehicle Crashes

June 18, 2021

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/podcasts/2021/20210618/20210618.htm

podcast-iconHOST:  In March of 2020, field operations for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey – or NHANES – were halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Field operations are scheduled to restart later this summer.  But the halt in operations presented a problem, since NHANES data traditionally is released in two-year cycles in order to have a large enough sample size to be nationally representative.  Because the data collected in the cycle from 2019 thru March 2020 are ­not nationally representative, NCHS took steps to combine these “partial-cycle” data with previously released 2017–2018 data in order to produce nationally representative estimates.

This effort resulted in a new report this week that explains these “prepandemic NHANES data files,” from the period January 2017 thru March 2020, and outlines recommendations as well as limitations related to using the files.  The new report also presents prevalence estimates for selected health outcomes based on these files.

One of the health topics selected was obesity.  From January 2017 to March 2020, the data show that 1 in 5 children and adolescents in the U.S. were obese, or 19.7% of the age 2-19 population.  The report also shows that nearly half of children and adolescents – or 46% – had untreated or restored cavities in one or more of their primary or permanent teeth.

Among adults age 20 and up, the age-adjusted prevalence of obesity was more than 4 in 10, or 42%, and nearly 1 in 10 were severely obese. In addition to obesity, the new data show that diabetes prevalence among adults was nearly 15% and that nearly half of adults age 18 and over – or 45% — had hypertension.  Also, among older adults age 65 and up, complete tooth loss was present in nearly 14% of that population.

Ultimately, these new estimates are similar to those reported during the 2017-2018 cycle, but the additional year and two plus months-worth of data provide a larger sample size and thus more precise estimates.  And the release of these data mark another important milestone, in that they are the last NHANES data collected before widespread transmission of COVID-19 began in 2020.

(MUSIC BRIDGE)

HOST:  This week, the monthly provisional numbers for drug overdose deaths in the U.S. were released.  The latest round of data cover the one-year period ending in November of 2020, and show that the number of drug overdose deaths increased nearly 30% from the one-year period ending in November 2019.  Over 92,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in the year ending in November 2020, up from less than 72,000 the year before.

Three out of every four of these overdose deaths involved opioids, as the number of opioid-involved deaths topped 69,000 in this one-year period ending in November 2020, a major increase from 50,504 deaths the year before.  It’s important to note that recent trends may still be at least partially due to incomplete data.

A big factor behind the increase in overdose deaths is the continued increase in deaths involving synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl.  But increases in deaths from other drugs are playing a major role as well.  Overdose deaths from cocaine as well as psychostimulants such as methamphetamine have shown significant increases compared to the previous year.

The next release of provisional numbers will feature full-year 2020 data for the first time.

(MUSIC BRIDGE)

HOST:  An average of 3.4 million emergency department visits occur each year due to injuries from motor vehicle crashes.  Most people who are injured or killed in motor vehicle crashes are occupants.  Studies have shown that medical care costs and productivity losses associated with motor vehicle injuries and deaths exceeded $75 billion in 2017.

Today, NCHS released a new report that presents emergency department visit rates per 1,000 for motor vehicle crashes by age, race and ethnicity, health insurance status, and census region. The data come from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, an annual, nationally representative survey of nonfederal, general, and short-stay hospitals in the United States.

The report shows that in 2017–2018, the overall ER visit rate for motor vehicle crash injuries was 5.3 visits per 1,000, and was highest among patients between ages 15 and 24.  The ER visit rate for non-Hispanic black patients was several times higher than for non-Hispanic white or Hispanic patients.

Emergency department visit rates were higher for patients who had Medicaid, no insurance, or workers’ compensation insurance as their primary expected source of payment compared with patients who had private insurance or Medicare.  The ER visit rate for motor vehicle crashes at hospitals located in the South was higher than the rates at hospitals in all other census regions of the United States.


Latest Mental Health Data from Household Pulse Survey

June 16, 2021

NCHS partnered with the Census Bureau on an experimental data system called the Household Pulse Survey to monitor recent changes in mental health, telemedicine and health care access during the pandemic.

The latest data collected from May 26 through June 7, 2021 shows 3 out of 10 U.S. (28.8%) reported symptoms of an anxiety or a depressive disorder in the past 7 days.  This is the lowest percentage since the start of the Household Pulse Survey more than a year ago.  However, the percentage is almost 60% for those with a disability.

The data also shows that 20.6% of U.S. adults took prescription medication for mental health and 9.5% received counseling or therapy in the last 4 weeks.


NCHS Releases Latest Provisional Drug Overdose Data

June 16, 2021

NOV2020_Overdose

NCHS released the latest monthly preliminary counts of drug overdose deaths in the United States, covering the one-year period ending in November of 2020.  The data is now available in a web-based interactive dashboard at:  https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/drug-overdose-data.htm.

Provisional data show that the reported number of drug overdose deaths occurring in the United States increased by 28.9% from the 12 months ending in November 2019 to the 12 months ending in November 2020, from 70,357 to 90,722. After adjustments for delayed reporting, the predicted number of drug overdose deaths showed an increase of 29.4% from the 12 months ending in November 2019 to the 12 months ending in November 2020, from 71,672 to 92,751.

The reported number of opioid-involved drug overdose deaths in the United States for the 12-month period ending in November 2020 (67,574) increased from 49,488 in the previous year. The predicted number of opioid-involved drug overdose deaths in the United States for the 12-month period ending in November 2020 (69,287) increased from 50,504 in the previous year.


PODCAST: The 2020 Increase in Death Rates Were The Highest Ever Recorded

June 11, 2021

STATCAST, JUNE 2021: DISCUSSION WITH FARIDA AHMAD, STATISTICIAN, ABOUT LATEST PROVISIONAL QUARTERLY MORTALITY DATA.

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/podcasts/2021/20210611/20210611.htm

podcast-iconHOST:  Each quarter NCHS releases provisional data on mortality from leading causes of death in the U.S. on an interactive web-based dashboard.   This week the dashboard was updated to include Quarter 4 data from 2020 and gives a complete account of provisional death rates in the U.S. for the year.  Joining us to discuss some of the key findings is Farida Ahmad of the Division of Vital Statistics.

HOST: First question: how much did the death rate in the U.S. increase in 2020?

FARIDA AHMAD:  The death rate for the U.S. increased by about 16% in 2020 compared to 2019-

HOST:  Now is it safe to say that almost all of the increase can be attributed to COVID-19.

FARIDA AHMAD:  A large part of it, yes, but we also saw increases in other causes of death like heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes.  Unintentional injuries like drug overdose also increased throughout 2020.  This report only includes drug overdose rates for the first half of the year but you do see very large increases in the second quarter of 2020.

HOST:  Some say that certain causes of death like influenza and pneumonia declined in 2020 due to COVID – is that true?

FARIDA AHMAD:  No, not really – that’s due to influenza and pneumonia were actually higher in 2020 than in 2019.  That’s likely driven by the pneumonia more so than influenza though.

HOST:  Is there any sense whether some of those pneumonia deaths are miscategorized, that maybe they should be in the COVID category?

FARIDA AHMAD:  Yes, you know it’s definitely possible.  We don’t have hard numbers on that and to account for maybe miscategorized COVID deaths we would we would look at excess mortality.  So a different kind of measure to look at that.

HOST:  I guess then the same would be true for other causes of death, particularly those that occur at the very beginning of 2020.  Is there any chance there will be more COVID deaths added to the tally?

FARIDA AHMAD:  It’s certainly possible but we haven’t closed out the 2020 data year.  So we could still get additional changes but we don’t anticipate a significant number of deaths data will change.

HOST:  So the data aren’t final yet is that correct?

FARIDA AHMAD:   Yes that’s correct.

HOST:   So what are some of the more striking changes you saw in the death rates from 2019 to 2020 as far as certain leading causes go?

FARIDA AHMAD:  Diabetes deaths increased by almost 14%… Chronic liver disease increased by 17% … and then hypertension and Parkinson disease those increased by 12% and 11% respectively.

HOST:  So in a normal year those would be considered very large increases is that correct?

FARIDA AHMAD:  Yes, yeah shifts that large would be notable.

HOST: But there’s no way to sort of link that back to the pandemic, either directly or indirectly?

FARIDA AHMAD:   Not with the death certificate data that we have, unless these deaths – you know these deaths which were the underlying cause is what we’re looking at.  For these deaths COVID-19 might also be listed on the death certificate, in which case you could say that COVID-19 played a role in that death but otherwise we wouldn’t necessarily know if it was a direct or indirect cause of the pandemic in terms of disrupted access to healthcare or other contributing factors.  The death certificate data wouldn’t necessarily tell us that.

HOST: So in general 2020 was a very rough year for mortality but were there any declines in leading causes of death in 2020?

FARIDA AHMAD:  There were a few – there were declines in cancer, in chronic lower respiratory diseases, and pneumonitis due to solids and liquids>

HOST: Did the pandemic – did COVID-19 — have any impact on death rates at the state level?  Were there any unusual changes in 2020?

FARIDA AHMAD:  West Virginia and Mississippi had the highest death rates overall, but the largest increases in death rates were actually seen in New York and New Jersey.

HOST:  Is there anything else in this new data that you’d like to note?

FARIDA AHMAD: What this report allows us to look at is not just the deaths due to COVID-19, which have been understandably a huge focus of public health surveillance in last year, but with this report we get to look at some of the other leading causes of death that might not be in the top five, or the top ten, but these are issues of public health importance and concern.  To look at these various diseases and causes of death, so I think that’s really what this report adds is to be able to take a broader look.

MUSICAL BRIDGE:

HOST: Our thanks to Farida Ahmad for joining us on this edition of “Statcast.”

HOST:  On Wednesday of this week, NCHS also released a new report on screening for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer.  The study featured data on women age 45 and over from the National Health Interview Survey, and concluded that regular cancer screening is much more likely among women of higher socio-economic status, as well as women who are married or living with a partner, and women who engage in healthy behaviors — such as not smoking, regularly exercising, and getting a flu shot.


QuickStats: Percentage of Children† Aged 2–17 Years Who Wear Glasses or Contact Lenses, by Sex and Age Group — National Health Interview Survey, United States, 2019

June 11, 2021

mm7023a4-f

In 2019, 25.3% of children aged 2–17 years wore glasses or contact lenses, and the percentage increased with age among both boys and girls.

Among boys, 3% wore glasses among those aged 2–5 years, 20.0% among those aged 6–11 years, and 35.3% among those aged 12–17 years. Among girls, the corresponding percentages are 3.1, 26.4, and 48.2.

The percentage was higher among girls than boys overall and among those aged 6–11 years and 12–17 years, but not in the youngest age group.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7023a4.htm