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Features Health & Wellness Healthy Carolinians taking the pulse of the community through phone survey

Is the health of Macon County getting better or worse? Healthy Carolinians of Macon County hopes to answer that question and many others through a telephone survey of 400 county residents. Random homes are being called over the next couple of months.

The survey is part of a comprehensive health assessment under way by the Healthy Carolinians group with the assistance of Stiles Healthcare Strategy, Inc., a health care consulting organization based in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The assessment also includes interviews and focus groups with community representatives and health providers.

The 2011 survey will be a follow-up to one conducted in 2007, says Kathy McGaha, program director of the Healthy Carolinians of Macon County. “The telephone study will give us an opportunity to hear from a large number of local residents, evaluate where we are on a number of health issues, and measure our progress over the past few years.

The survey of 400 adults will provide Healthy Carolinians of Macon County with a representative sample for analysis by demographic factors such as age, income, educational level and health status. Questions in the survey focus on experiences accessing and paying for health care, health and lifestyle habits such as smoking and exercise, and attitudes about community life.

Completing the survey will require 15 to 20 minutes according to Bill Stiles, President of Stiles Healthcare Strategy and lead consultant on the project. He encourages residents to be generous with their time and cooperate with interviewers when they call.

“This is not a short survey, but those who agree to participate will find it interesting and worth their time,” says Stiles, who adds that bilingual interviewers will be involved to facilitate participation by Spanish-speaking residents. The Stiles organization has administered surveys of similar length and content in other areas.

The investment in time will yield important benefits to the community, says McGaha. “This study is very important to our community’s efforts to plan for the future and prioritize resources. We all want better health and a better community. Studies like this one help us understand our needs.”

Stiles estimates that up to 6,000 telephone calls will be necessary to complete the 400-interview target.

All the calls will be dialed randomly from a database of Macon County telephone numbers. Landline telephones are most likely to be called.

Those with mobile phones only can call Healthy Carolinians at (828) 349-2426 and add their numbers to the database.





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