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Electronic prompts significantly increase response rates to postal questionnaires: A randomized trial within a randomized trial and meta-analysis

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Joy Adamson


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© 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Objectives To assess the effectiveness of sending electronic prompts to randomized controlled trial participants to return study questionnaires. Study Design and Setting A "trial within a trial" embedded within a study determining the effectiveness of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (DOC) screening on smoking cessation. Those participants taking part in DOC who provided a mobile phone number and/or an electronic mail address were randomized to either receive an electronic prompt or no electronic prompt to return a study questionnaire. The results were combined with two previous studies in a meta-analysis. Results A total of 437 participants were randomized: 226 to the electronic prompt group and 211 to the control group. A total of 285 (65.2%) participants returned the follow-up questionnaire: 157 (69.5%) in the electronic prompt group and 128 (60.7%) in the control group [difference 8.8%; 95% confidence interval (CI): -0.11%, 17.7%; P = 0.05]. The mean time to response was 23 days in the electronic prompt group and 33 days in the control group (hazard ratio = 1.27; 95% CI: 1.105, 1.47). The meta-analysis of all three studies showed an increase in response rate of 7.1% (95% CI: 0.8%, 13.3%). Conclusion The use of electronic prompts increased response rates and reduces the time to response.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Clark L, Ronaldson S, Dyson L, Hewitt C, Torgerson D, Adamson J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Clinical Epidemiology

Year: 2015

Volume: 68

Issue: 12

Pages: 1446-1450

Print publication date: 01/12/2015

Online publication date: 27/01/2015

Acceptance date: 21/01/2015

ISSN (print): 0895-4356

ISSN (electronic): 1878-5921

Publisher: Elsevier USA


DOI: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2015.01.016

PubMed id: 25709076


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