The mail survey unit provides four main services: 1) a computerized tracking system connected to the client server relational database to allocate and target subjects for randomized treatment groups, scheduled mailings, telephone follow-up, and individualized progress reports; 2) the generation and mailing of surveys to subjects in studies; 3) the generation and mailing of individualized database interactive expert system interventions (progress reports) to subjects in studies; and 4) automatic data entry using optical scanners.
The intervention report generation and mail room contains six dedicated 486 computers, each of which contains all tracking and survey record data, as well as the software and paragraphs to analyze data and generate reports. They share four dedicated HP IIIsi (or better) laser printers. The adjoining data analysis room contains eight LAN-connected personal computers and two optical scanners for automatic data entry. We have also created software that allows us to print questionnaires directly onto formatted Optical scan sheet that can then be machine read. This enables quick in-house development of machine readable questionnaires for preliminary testing of new scales, or quick add-on of questions to existing studies. The CPRC has a first class bulk mail permit which allows efficient batch mailing of surveys, manuals, and progress reports by weight. It also has a return mail permit.
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