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A randomized trial of three marketing strategies to disseminate a screening and brief alcohol intervention programme to general practitioners

Lookup NU author(s): Catherine Lock, Professor Eileen KanerORCiD, Professor Brian McAvoy, Dr Eilish Gilvarry


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Background. Research findings are of little benefit to patients or society if they do not reach the audience they are intended to influence. A dissemination strategy is needed to target new findings at ifs user group and encourage a process of consideration and adoption or rejection. Aim, To evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of different marketing strategies for the dissemination of a screening and brief alcohol intervention (SBI) programme to general practitioners (GPs). Method. Seven hundred and twenty-nine GPs, one per practice, from the former Northern and Yorkshire Regional Health Authority were randomly assigned to one of three marketing strategies: postal marketing (mailing a promotional brochure to GPs), telemarketing (following a script to market the programme over the telephone), and personal marketing (following the same script during face-to-face marketing at GPs' practices). GPs who took up the programme were asked if they would agree to use it. Outcome measures included the proportions of GPs who rook up the programme and agreement to use it. Results, Of the 614 GPs eligible for the study, 321 (52%) took the programme. There was a significant difference in the proportions of GPs from the three marketing strategies who took the programme (82% telemarketing, 68% personal marketing, and 22% postal marketing). Of the 315 GPs who took the programme and were eligible to use it, 128 (41%) agreed to use the programme for three months. GPs in the postal marketing group were more likely to agree to use the programme (55% postal marketing, 44% personal marketing, and 34% telemarketing). Personal marketing was the most effective overall dissemination strategy; however, economic analysis revealed that telemarketing was the most cost-effective strategy. Costs for dissemination per GP were: pound 13 telemarketing, pound 15 postal marketing, and pound 88 personal marketing. Conclusion. Telemarketing appeared to be the most cost-effective strategy for dissemination of SBI to GPs.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lock CA, Kaner EFS, Heather N, McAvoy BR, Gilvarry E

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of General Practice

Year: 1999

Volume: 49

Issue: 446

Pages: 695-698

Print publication date: 01/09/1999

ISSN (print): 0960-1643

ISSN (electronic): 1478-5242

Publisher: Royal College of General Practitioners