The Truven Health Blog

The latest healthcare topics from a trusted, proven, and unbiased source.


PULSE Healthcare Survey Captures Opinions Despite Communication Preferences

By Truven Staff
The perceived risk of taking painkillers is an issue for people of all ages and communication preferences. Our polling shows that one in three adults only have a cell phone instead of both a cell phone and a land line. This is especially important as we collect opinions from the more mobile Millennials and Generation Xers, as well as the more traditional Baby Boomers and Seniors, who often have cell phones in addition to land lines.
Every other month, the Truven Health Analytics™-NPR Health Poll surveys approximately 3,000 Americans to gauge attitudes and opinions on a wide range of healthcare issues. Poll results are reported by NPR on the health blog Shots and on air. Complete survey results are also posted. NPR’s reports on the findings are archived.

The Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll is powered by the Truven Health Analytics PULSE® Healthcare Survey, an independently funded multi-modal (land line, cell phone, and internet) survey that collects information from more than 82,000 U.S. households annually. 3,010 survey participants were interviewed from May 1–15, 2014, and the article, Americans Weigh Addiction Risk When Taking Painkillers, reflects their responses. The margin of error is +/- 1.8 percent.

The biggest advantage of using multi-modal survey over strictly land-line telephone surveys is that fewer and fewer people are using land-line telephones. By employing a multi-mode approach to the PULSE Healthcare Survey that includes land-line phone, cell phone, and internet, Truven Health is ensuring that all segments of the population are included in the sample.

By 2010, 21% of the adult population used cell phones exclusively. By 2012, this number increased to 30% and has continued to increase. Additional research suggests that the 18-35 year old population is the largest group of cell phone “only” or cell phone “mostly” users. The 18-35 age group is becoming more difficult to reach and other methods must be used besides land-line telephones.

People have expanded their means of communication, and our work  reflects consumer preference in our polling  sampling methodology. As people leverage technology  to communicate in many different ways, it‘s important that surveys develop sampling methodologies that are broadly inclusive. The PULSE Healthcare Survey is doing just that.

George Popa
Research Scientist, PULSE Healthcare Survey

Support for High School Football Despite Concussion Risk

By Truven Staff
Byron Scott imageThe debate around the risk of concussion among high school football players was discussed in a recent article on the NPR Health Blog. This debate has occurred because of increasing medical research and public awareness of the problem, and it forces parents to face a challenging decision to allow their children to play football or not. I’ve witnessed passionate debates by parents on both sides of the issue, and I believe that the debate will go on for a very long time. What is starting to become clearer in the news today is that repetitive head injuries and concussions may lead to lifelong impairment.

I’ll offer two opinions based on own my personal experience. As an emergency physician practicing most of my career in Texas, I have seen the full spectrum of injuries during “Friday Night Lights” high school football season in Texas. I’ve seen concussions, rib/chest injuries, spleen injuries, fractured extremities, and even spine injuries because of football.  However, I’ve seen many of these same injuries in other high school sports like soccer or baseball, and these injuries happened to both male and female athletes. It’s scary to see the injuries, and the reality is that they will occur as long as our children play sports. For concussions, I think we have to continue to implement rules to try and minimize concussions, and limit or eliminate an athlete’s future competition, if repetitive head injuries occur.  

As a parent, I watched my son play four years of high school football in Texas, and he finished his career over a year ago. Was it scary at times watching him play, getting hit, and even suffering injuries? Yes, it was scary, but he wanted to play, and I enjoyed watching him play. That being said, he did suffer one concussion during football season, but coincidentally he didn’t get the concussion playing football. If he would have had another one after that, I may have had the discussion about him not playing again, knowing what we are starting to discover in research, and the tragic stories we are reading about ex-athletes who suffered concussions during their career and are still playing.

Our children can be injured in any high school sport and even in a car going to school. In the end, it’s a personal choice by a family to allow their children to play sports and, hopefully, we can continue to gather more research, data, and analysis to find out more about prevention and continue with rules of the game to minimize head injury as much as we can.

The Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll is powered by the Truven Health PULSE™ Healthcare Survey, the nation’s largest and longest-running independently funded, nationally representative telephone poll that collects information about health-related behaviors and attitudes and healthcare utilization from more than 100,000 U.S. households annually. Survey questions are developed in conjunction with NPR.

Byron C. Scott, MD, MBA, CPE, FACEP
Medical Director, National Clinical Medical Leader