Re: web based health studies

Spike Jones (
Sat, 26 Sep 1998 18:13:57 -0700

Dennis Roberts wrote:

> > > Ian Goddard wrote: Extracting the signal from numerous anecdotal
> > > claims might be almost impossible, particularly if you
> > > factor in the possibility of intentional disinformation
> > > that could be inserted freely by various interested...
> From having designed many survey forms to collect medical info, a good way
> to prevent individuals from submitting multiple forms is to make them
> tedious to complete....

ya, this is exactly what i am hoping to avoid with our new web technology. this old technique filters out poor readers and busy people for instance. i know that surveys using paper and pencil technology are inherently susceptible to both data vandalism and nonparticipation of privacy advocates. same with surveys done by interview.

is there a way to set up a web site, let everyone choose a number, ensure it is unknown to the webmaster who chose which number, then have each survey submitted with the number? can it be ensured that the number cannot be used to trace back to the respondant? can it be further ensured that a data vandal cannot obtain multiple numbers? in seeking simultaneous individual privacy and protection from data vandalism, i may be asking for two things that are mutually incompatible. but i want a computer expert to tell me this.

> Shoot for having a good approximation of the truth...

ok, but can we do better now than before? i know that the internet has revolutionized info gathering in car buying. why not in health? spike