Recruitment rates and reasons for community physicians' non-participation in an interdisciplinary intervention study on leg ulceration

Oliver Herber, Wilfried Schnepp, Monika A. Rieger

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    31 Citations (Scopus)


    Background This article describes the challenges a research team experienced recruiting physicians within a randomised controlled trial about leg ulcer care that seeks to foster the cooperation between the medical and nursing professions. Community-based physicians in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, were recruited for an interdisciplinary intervention designed to enhance leg ulcer patients' self-care agency. The aim of this article is to investigate the success of different recruitment strategies employed and reasons for physicians' non-participation. Methods The first recruitment phase stressed the recruitment of GPs, the second the recruitment of specialists. Throughout the recruitment process data were collected through phone conversations with GP practices who indicated reasons for non-participation. Results Despite great efforts to recruit physicians, the recruitment rate reached only 26 out of 1549 contacted practices (1.7%) and 12 out of 273 (4.4%) practices during the first and second recruitment phase respectively. The overall recruitment rate over the 16-month recruitment period was 2%. With a target recruitment rate of n = 300, only 45 patients were enrolled in the study, not meeting study projections. Various reasons for community physicians' non-participation are presented as stated spontaneously during phone conversations that might explain low recruitment rates. The recruitment strategy utilised is discussed against the background of factors associated with high participation rates from the international literature. Conclusion Time, money, and effort needed during the planning and recruitment phase of a study must not be underestimated to avoid higher than usual rates of refusal and lack of initial contact. Pilot studies prior to a study start-up may provide some evidence on whether the target recruitment rate is feasible
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBMC Medical Research Methodology
    Issue number61
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • Leg ulcers
    • General practitioners
    • Germany


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