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Patient-initiated recruitment for clinical research: Evaluation of an outpatient letter research statement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Expectations
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Nov 2017

King's Authors

Abstract

BACKGROUND:
UK Hospital Trusts are charged with increasing patients' research awareness and willingness to take part in research. This includes implementing strategies to encourage patient-initiated enquiries about participation.

OBJECTIVES:
To evaluate the impact of a research statement inserted in outpatient letters in one clinical service, and to derive suggestions on potential steps towards increasing patient-initiated recruitment.

SETTING:
A medical outpatient clinic of a research-active hospital trust, serving an inner-city multi-ethnic population across two boroughs.

METHODS:
Pre-intervention and post-intervention questionnaires were administered face-to-face to new patients. Questionnaires included closed questions and one open comments section. Data were analysed for frequencies, with thematic coding of open-ended responses.

RESULTS:
The response rates were 87% for the pre-intervention survey and 92% for the post-intervention survey. In the post-intervention survey, 85% of patients did not notice the research statement in the letter. More than half found the statement "a little unclear," whilst one-third considered it "clear." Three-quarters of respondents perceived the statement to be "a little helpful." Only one person enquired about participating in clinical research having read the statement in the outpatient letter.

CONCLUSION:
The analysis suggests that simple, single-solution approaches such as including research statements in outpatient letters are unlikely to be sufficient to significantly facilitate patient-initiated recruitment. Recruitment efforts need to take into consideration the diversity of patient constituencies including the reasons they seek health care, and how patients can meaningfully access information (research literacy).

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