Community based recruitment strategies for a longitudinal interventional study: The VECAT experience

S. K M Garrett, A. P. Thomas, J. J. McNeil, H. R. Taylor

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PURPOSE. Description and cost-analysis of the recruitment strategy employed in the VECAT study, a four year longitudinal interventional trial of anti-oxidants on age related cataract and maculopathy. METHODS: The method and costs of recruitment were documented for all potential participants. Four main methods were utilised in the VECAT recruitment protocol; media advertising (MA), approaches to community groups (CG), electoral roll mail-outs (ER) and approaches to General Practitioners (GP). Each method of recruitment was analysed under the following categories; labour intensity and cost effectiveness. RESULTS: 1200 participants aged 55-80 years (mean age 67 years, 57% female, 43% male) were recruited in 40 weeks from the general population. Methods were ranked (most to least) in terms of; labour intensity (GP>CG>ER>MA) and cost effectiveness (MA>ER>CG>GP) CONCLUSIONS: Pivotal to clinical research is the ability to recruit adequate numbers of eligible participants. Studies1 have shown that recruitment using medical practitioners is effective; our results do not reflect this. The least labour intensive and most cost effective method of recruitment is media advertising. However, it was necessary to use a number of methods concurrently as media advertising rapidly saturates its target audience. The VECAT recruitment strategy was designed to recruit a large population in a short time frame.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 1996

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