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Community Health Data Base
An Information Service of the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation

PHMC's 11th Household Health Survey to Be Conducted This Summer!
Saturday. June 2, 2007


Over the next few months, PHMC’s Community Health Data Base (CHDB) will be conducting the 11th Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey, a major local telephone survey to examine the health and health care experiences of Southeastern Pennsylvania residents. The Household Health Survey represents a unique population-based data resource for Southeastern Pennsylvania and the only such local resource in the United States.  The first Household Health Survey (HHS) was conducted in Philadelphia in 1983; starting in 1994, the HHS became a biannual survey of over 10,000 households within the five-county Southeastern Pennsylvania region—Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties. Interviews are conducted among adults 18 years of age and older.

New Features of the 2008 Survey

The 2008 SEPA Household Health Survey will have some new features that will make the 2008 survey even more important and useful for health care providers in the region.  Similar to past surveys, for the 2008 survey approximately 9,700 households throughout the region will be randomly contacted by landline telephone and asked questions about health screenings, use of health services, health insurance, and personal health behaviors, among other topics.  However, in addition to these landline interviews, an additional 300 respondents will be contacted by cell phone.  As we all are aware, telephone surveys are a tested way to obtain crucial information from diverse populations.  However, only a handful of telephone surveys have included cell phone samples and these surveys have been national in scope. In addition, current studies of cell phone samples have generally focused on the effects of political opinion polls. To date, there are no local health surveys that include a cell phone sample.  PHMC’s Household Health Survey cell phone sample represents a break though in collecting telephone based health data.  All of the information collected is completely confidential. 

In addition to the cell phone sample, a shorter version of the SEPA Household Health Survey will be conducted in three additional counties in our region:  Berks, Lancaster and Schuylkill counties.   Interviews in approximately 1,000 households in each of these counties will be conducted. 

New Topics in the Household Health Survey

The household health survey provides critical information about health status, health behaviors, and access and barriers to care, among other health indicators. This survey enables over 350 nonprofit organizations, local health providers, policy makers, and health planners to assess up-to-date health and social service needs, establish benchmarks, and monitor changes over time for the populations and communities they serve.  The 2008 survey will include some new topics/questions including: utilization of the A One C test among those with diabetes, patterns of sleep, healthcare/provider distrust scale, aging in place, utilization of glasses among children, physical activity, and housing and economic questions.    

Abt SRBI will, once again, conduct the survey.  SRBI has conducted the survey since 1996.  Please see the spotlight below for more information on Abt SRBI.  The survey will be in the field for about ten weeks from June-August.  When the survey is completed, PHMC will make the data available to CHDB Members and Affiliates by December 2008.

Previous Household Health Surveys found that:
· In 2006 more than 225,000 adults (9.4%) do not have any private or public health insurance; this percentage has increased since 2000.  In addition, nearly one in twenty children in SEPA (3.9%) do not have any health insurance.  Insurance coverage varies by race/ethnicity. 

· More than one-fifth of adults (24.5%) and children (20.8%) in SEPA are obese, exceeding the Healthy People 2010 target of 15% of the adult population.

· The prevalence of hypertension among adults in SEPA has increased in the past decade from 23.6% in 1994 to 29.6% in 2006. 

· Almost one-quarter of adults in SEPA (21.6%) smoke cigarettes; this percentage exceeds Healthy People 2010 target of 12%.

· Adults in Philadelphia are the most likely of all adults in Southeastern Pennsylvania to report that their neighbors have worked together to improve their neighborhood through neighborhood watches, creating playgrounds or community gardens.

Established in 1983, the CHDB is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, The William Penn Foundation, The United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, The Hospital and Higher Education Facilities Authority, and over 350 participating agencies from the health, government, nonprofit, and academic sectors. In the past decade, the Household Health Survey has been conducted every other year. Key findings from previous years are available at  For more information on becoming a Member or Affiliate of the Community Health Data Base , please contact Francine Axler at 215-985-2521 or by email at

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