Projects per year
Background: Retention is considered the second highest trial methods priority in the UK after recruitment.
Methods: This Study Within A Trial (SWAT) evaluated whether sending a pre-notification card around one month before a face-to-face primary outcome measurement visit compared to not sending the card increased trial retention. The SWAT was a two-arm, parallel randomised (1:1 allocation ratio), stratified by centre, study. It was embedded within the ActWELL host trial, which evaluated whether women receiving lifestyle change counselling from volunteer coaches improved outcomes including weight and physical activity. The text on the card was not developed using formal behavioural change theory but did target factors thought to influence attendance. The SWAT primary outcome was the difference in the proportion of participants attending the host trial primary outcome measurement visit. The secondary outcome was the direct cost of sending cards. Host trial participants and research staff at the primary outcome visit were blind to the SWAT. Analysis was intention-to-treat. GRADE was used the assess the certainty of evidence.
Results: 558 host trial participants took part in the SWAT and were included in the analysis. Sending a pre-notification card may result in a slight increase in attendance at a face-to-face primary outcome measurement visit: risk difference = 3.3% (95% confidence interval = -3.0% to 9.6%). This is GRADE low certainty evidence. A recording error meant it was unclear whether 17 participants allocated to the card were actually sent one but a sensitivity analysis did not change the overall result or conclusion. The direct cost of producing and sending the cards was £192 GBP (€213 EUR; 260 USD).
Discussion: Trialists could consider using pre-notification as they may gain a slight increase in retention to face-to-face trial measurement visits but further evaluations are needed.
- Pre-notification cards
- Randomised trial
- randomised trial
- pre-notification cards