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Use of strategies to improve retention in primary care randomised trials: a qualitative study with in-depth interviews.

Brueton, VC; Stevenson, F; Vale, CL; (2014) Use of strategies to improve retention in primary care randomised trials: a qualitative study with in-depth interviews. BMJ Open , 4 (1) , Article e003835. 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003835. Green open access

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Abstract

Objective: To explore the strategies used to improve retention in primary care randomised trials. Design: Qualitative in-depth interviews and thematic analysis. Participants: 29 UK primary care chief and principal investigators, trial managers and research nurses. Methods: In-depth face-to-face interviews. Results: Primary care researchers use incentive and communication strategies to improve retention in trials, but were unsure of their effect. Small monetary incentives were used to increase response to postal questionnaires. Non-monetary incentives were used although there was scepticism about the impact of these on retention. Nurses routinely used telephone communication to encourage participants to return for trial follow-up. Trial managers used first class post, shorter questionnaires and improved questionnaire designs with the aim of improving questionnaire response. Interviewees thought an open trial design could lead to biased results and were negative about using behavioural strategies to improve retention. There was consensus among the interviewees that effective communication and rapport with participants, participant altruism, respect for participant’s time, flexibility of trial personnel and appointment schedules and trial information improve retention. Interviewees noted particular challenges with retention in mental health trials and those involving teenagers. Conclusions: The findings of this qualitative study have allowed us to reflect on research practice around retention and highlight a gap between such practice and current evidence. Interviewees describe acting from experience without evidence from the literature, which supports the use of small monetary incentives to improve the questionnaire response. No such evidence exists for non-monetary incentives or first class post, use of which may need reconsideration. An exploration of barriers and facilitators to retention in other research contexts may be justified.

Type: Article
Title: Use of strategies to improve retention in primary care randomised trials: a qualitative study with in-depth interviews.
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003835
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003835
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 3.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ PMCID: PMC3902408
Keywords: Primary Care, Randomised trials, Retention strategies
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology > MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Primary Care and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1418486
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