Friday, February 29, 2008

Pallimed 2008 Annual Survey Results

Thanks to all the readers who took our survey at the end of January. As promised we wanted to share some of the results with you as 'payment' for taking the survey.

We had a pretty good response for a voluntary survey. Of the 600+ readers at the time of the survey we received 87 surveys for a 15% return rate. So next year we are aiming for 25%! Thanks to all of you who participated, we appreciate your input.

88% of responders were in the medical field and 75% of those worked in hospice and palliative care primarily. Figure 1 is the distribution of disciplines. I am pretty surprised we did not have more fellows answer, since I would expect them to be technologically hip to RSS and looking for good articles for journal club. We even got a response from a hospice librarian. I did not know such people existed, but that is great!

Over half of the respondents have been reading Palllimed for over 6 months and most of you accessed Pallimed via the web site directly or email subscriptions (see 2nd Figure). If you don't know what RSS is you can see our First-Time Visitor Page for a good explanation.

Most people preferred the current format of 2-3 posts per week, and multiple subjects in each post. Interestingly this is not the usual blog format, which is one subject for each post, and multiple small posts per day or a few large posts each week. We appreciate the individual feedback about the format and will be taking some of these into consideration in tweaking upcoming posts.

As far as the future of Pallimed many people responded positively to the ideas we floated including calendar function for conferences, PowerPoints, handouts, audio/video podcasts, guest posts by readers/senior faculty, polls, and interviews. Now obviously we cannot do all of those things at once, but since CME and CE did not get a large positive response, we will likely be crossing those off the list for now given the amount of work those take. Drew, Tom and I are trying to keep the core content of high enough quality and figure out how to slowly implement some of these additions. We also don't want to duplicate content that you can get at other sites. If you would be interested in contributing to any of these new prospects, please feel free to email Drew at his gmail dot com address (drosielle).

One function we are interested about is the use of comments. The ability to comment is one of great things about blogs. It allows for near real-time conversations about the topics that we post on. You can even use it as a forum to have a public conversation on something off-topic.

Only 24% of respondents had placed comments on Pallimed. All the blue shades in Figure 3 are the "never commented" responses and the reasons for the response. The other category was filled with answers that could be placed in multiple of the other no categories. A high number of responders (21%) did not realize we had a comments section. Many people felt they had nothing to add. Drew, Tom and I do not profess to be the experts on all the topics we write about. There is a lot of opinion here, which means there is room for debate.

You can find the comments link at the bottom of every post.
To address some of the individual responses to the questions we surveyed:

No. Absolutely not.
Are you serious?
I thought that was pretty funny too.
I never thought of Drew that way before.
Seriously though, some of you enjoy our attempts at wit, others desire a more serious tone. We try to strike somewhere in between to make it informative and accessible/personal. Whatever you think, thanks for reading Pallimed. We have grown from 4 subscribers last January to around 700 in just over one year. Thanks for helping us in our amazing growth. We appreciate the positive and critical feedback, and hope to see more of you in the comments section. (Feel free to practice commenting on this post!)

Drew, Christian & Tom

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