Although research nationwide has shown that health care utilization amongst undocumented immigrants is substantially lower than U.S. citizens, the former are often blamed for the inadequacies of our health care system. In order to test whether utilization patterns amongst undocumented immigrants in our own city of Albuquerque coincide with current data, we first needed to determine the best recruitment methods for identifying undocumented immigrants. This pilot project tested three commonly used methods in survey research: 1) in-person household surveys (from here on referred to as canvassing), 2) RDD telephone survey (from here on referred to as calling) and 3) a combination of the two (initial phone call to set up appointment for in-person household survey; from here on referred to as making appointments). Each method was assessed based on time efficiency, effectiveness and overall performance. Time efficiency was defined as the number of attempted contacts (e.g. # of doors knocked on) per hour and successful contact rate (e.g. ratio of doors answered to doors knocked on). The effectiveness of a recruitment method was measured by cooperation rate (ratio of participants to contacts) and percentage of surveys corresponding to undocumented immigrants. Overall, by combining both time efficiency and effectiveness, the number of undocumented surveys per hour was used as a good estimate of overall performance for each method. In addition, this pilot study tested the effectiveness of the survey instrument together with efforts to maintain confidentiality. Effectiveness was defined as the ability of the survey to safely identify a responder as undocumented (i.e. did participants answer survey questions about immigration status and thus disclose their undocumented status?). The South Valley of Albuquerque was chosen as the setting due the proportionally greater number of immigrants that reside there. Overall, our results show that although calling was the most time efficient method, canvassing was more effective and had a better overall performance. Moreover, although not originally factored as a performance measurement, canvassing proved to be much more affordable than calling. Lastly, the survey instrument and informed consent process were effective in identifying undocumented immigrants without incurring discomfort or compromising personal safety.
Santiago, Irma Mariana and Mariana Mejia Botero. "Health Care Utilization Pilot Study: Recruiting and Interviewing Residents of the South Valley." (2009). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/ume-research-papers/84