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Recruit More Participants with a Multi-Pronged Approach

Posted on August 4, 2014

Jordan F. Karp (bio) lists a variety of methods he's used to successfully recruit participants for his projects.


I've been pretty successful in our recruitment efforts really because I take such a multi-pronged approach. So many of my patients or participants come from primary care. And I've spent a lot of effort and resources in cultivating relationships with primary care docs in the area. We have been able to build on the electronic medical record where the doctors can actually refer people directly through the electronic medical record by just sending us a hyperlink with information about people who may be interested.

So it's much more efficient for the docs, and it reduces the need for us to have a research assistant onsite in some of these practices. But I can't just rely on primary care, so we also use print and on-air advertisements. I give a lot of community talks. And it's a lot about building relationships with champions and PCPs [primary care physicians] in the community for me. That's how I think that our recruitment has been successful. In terms of maintaining patients in our protocols, we probably have maybe a 15- to 20-percent attrition rate over the course of the protocol, which it's sort of par for the course in this kind of work.

I don't think it's that bad. But we've had to be very flexible because I study old people with depression who also have physical pain problems. So there's challenges with transportation and mobility and disability. So we do a lot of home visits if people live within a couple of miles. We do a lot of telephone visits. We've started using Skype. We mail medicines. So we've had to be pretty flexible, and I think that the patients or the participants really appreciate it. This is the kind of care that you don't get just normally in the community. So that's really helped to keep people in our projects.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher at the 2014 Career Development Institute for Psychiatry in Pittsburgh, PA.


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