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Penn State researchers collaborate to distribute COVID-19 survey globally

Misinformation and misunderstanding about COVID-19 and how the coronavirus spreads are fueling the pandemic whose death toll has surpassed 100,000 worldwide. To assess public perceptions about COVID-19 and identify populations whose behaviors put them at risk of infection, researchers at Penn State released an online survey for the general public.

The survey, which is anonymous and offered in 20 languages, is available here. The first round of data collection will end at midnight EDT April 30.

“As the world takes on the COVID-19 pandemic, the value of good information and the dangers of misinformation have become clear,” said Dr. Robert P. Lennon, an associate professor of family and community medicine at Penn State College of Medicine. “In fact, misinformation has always been one of the greatest challenges of pandemic infection. Only by understanding public misconceptions, planned compliance with prevention practices like social distancing and preferred information sources can we effectively ensure maximum public participation and minimize the spread of infection.”

A Penn State College of Medicine team developed the questionnaire to measure public knowledge about COVID-19, their intentions to follow recommended safety practices such as social distancing and hand washing, and their preferred method of receiving new information. It is modeled after the Effective Communication in Outbreak Management for Europe’s standard questionnaire, and was successfully used in central Pennsylvania, identifying groups most at risk and how best to reach them.

Penn State is collaborating with the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), which built the technology infrastructure for the survey along with its distribution. With members in 56 countries and 11 international chapters, CHIME will help distribute the survey on a global scale using platforms such as social media as well as partnerships with other organizations. The more responses researchers receive, the better they will be able to identify knowledge gaps, at-risk populations and strategies to inform those groups.

“At its core, this is really about saving lives,” said Russell Branzell, CHIME’s president and CEO. “It is critical that we reach as many people as possible and as quickly as we can. CHIME can help by using our membership, our strong relationships across the global healthcare ecosystem and our digital tools to distribute the link to the survey.”

About Penn State College of Medicine

Located on the campus of Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa., Penn State College of Medicine boasts a portfolio of nearly $100 million in funded research. Projects range from development of artificial organs and advanced diagnostics to groundbreaking cancer treatments and understanding the fundamental causes of disease. Enrolling its first students in 1967, the College of Medicine has more than 1,700 students and trainees in medicine, nursing, other health professions and biomedical research in both Hershey and State College, Pa.

About CHIME

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving chief information officers (CIOs), chief medical information officers (CMIOs), chief nursing information officers (CNIOs), chief innovation officers (CIOs), chief digital officers (CDOs) and other senior healthcare IT leaders. With more than 3,200 members in 56 countries and over 150 healthcare IT business partners and professional services firms, CHIME provides a highly interactive, trusted environment enabling senior professional and industry leaders to collaborate, exchange best practices, address professional development needs and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and care in the communities they serve. For more information, please visit chimecentral.org.

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