• Presentation

Correlation Between Interviewer Experience and Blood Spot CollectionQuality on the Add Health Wave IV Study


Hottinger, C. S., Tischner, C., & Hinsdale-Shouse, M. A. (2009, May). Correlation Between Interviewer Experience and Blood Spot Collection Quality on the Add Health Wave IV Study. Presented at AAPOR 2009, .


Collecting biological specimens to supplement field data collection efforts is becoming more prevalent for studies related to health measures. For large scale national field studies, the decisions about specific biomarkers to be collected and the means of collection are driven to a great extent by the issues of implementation feasibility. Field collection can mean better cooperation rates because there is no need to schedule time for a visit to a clinic to collect samples; however, field collection of biomarkers, such as dried blood spots, requires extensive planning, training, and continuous monitoring to ensure adherence to protocol and safety. This paper documents our recent experience using non-medical staff (field interviewers) to collect blood spots in the field for a study of nearly 20,000 sample members, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health).

While other studies have shown blood spot collection to be an acceptable alternative to venipuncture whether in the field or in a clinic, no evaluation has been conducted as to the role interviewer experience plays in blood spot quality or interviewer quality trends over the course of any given data collection effort.

For the Add Health study, blood spots were collected in order to obtain lipid profiles and perform assays of C-reactive protein (hsCRP), glycosolated hemoglobin (HbA1c), and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antibodies. Because blood spot quantity and quality can limit the number and type of biological assays that can be conducted, systems need to be developed to monitor individual interviewers’ blood spot quality. This paper examines the results of these monitoring reports across the Add Health Wave IV data collection period and documents the correlation of interviewers’ experience both before and during data collection on the overall quality of the blood spot collection. Finally, we will explore the implications for future population-based studies interested in incorporating blood collection into the biomarker research.