Advance telephone calls ahead of reminder questionnaires increase response rate in non-responders compared to questionnaire reminders only

The RECORD phone trial

Graeme Maclennan, Alison McDonald, Gladys McPherson, Shaun Treweek, Alison Avenell, RECORD Trial Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background
Postal questionnaires are simple and economical for collecting outcome data for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) but are prone to non-response. In the RECORD trial (a large pragmatic publicly funded RCT in UK) non-responders were sent a reminder and another questionnaire at 1 year, of which 40% were returned. In subsequent years we investigated the effect of an advance telephone call to non-responders on responses rate to reminder questionnaires and the next questionnaire 4 months later.

Methods
Non-responders to annual questionnaires were randomised to receive a telephone call from the trial office ahead of the reminder questionnaire in addition to the usual reminder schedule (n = 390) or to a control group that received the usual reminder schedule only (n = 363). The primary outcome was response to the reminder questionnaire within 21 days; secondary outcomes were response to a questionnaire 4 months later; completeness of quality of life instruments; and the number of participants declining further follow-up. Results are presented as odds ratios from a logistic regression intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis and then percentage difference and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for both ITT and average treatment effect on the treated (ATT) analyses.

Results
The proportions that responded were 67.8% (265/390) in the intervention group compared to 62.5% (227/363) in the control group. The ITT estimate was a 5.4% increase (95% CI −1.4 to 12.2). Four months later percentages responding were 51.8% (202) and 42.7% (155). The ITT estimate was a 9.1% increase (95% CI 2.0 to 16.2). In the intervention group 12.3% (48/390) of participants were not telephoned because questionnaires were returned before the scheduled telephone call. ATT estimates adjusting for this were 6.2% (95% CI −1.6 to 14.0) and 10.4% (95% CI 2.2 to 18.5), respectively.

Conclusions
The telephone call resulted in a slight increase in response to the reminder questionnaire, however at 4 months later the proportion in the telephoned group responding was greater. This study suggests that pre-notification telephone calls may only be worthwhile if further questionnaires are to be sent out soon after reminder questionnaires.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13
JournalTrials
Volume15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014

Fingerprint

Telephone
Confidence Intervals
Surveys and Questionnaires
Appointments and Schedules
Randomized Controlled Trials
Control Groups
Intention to Treat Analysis
Logistic Models
Odds Ratio
Quality of Life

Keywords

  • telephone reminders
  • postal questionnaires
  • response rates
  • average treatment effect on the treated

Cite this

@article{9b8b07a2370745cdb73945a3ca0687c7,
title = "Advance telephone calls ahead of reminder questionnaires increase response rate in non-responders compared to questionnaire reminders only: The RECORD phone trial",
abstract = "BackgroundPostal questionnaires are simple and economical for collecting outcome data for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) but are prone to non-response. In the RECORD trial (a large pragmatic publicly funded RCT in UK) non-responders were sent a reminder and another questionnaire at 1 year, of which 40{\%} were returned. In subsequent years we investigated the effect of an advance telephone call to non-responders on responses rate to reminder questionnaires and the next questionnaire 4 months later.MethodsNon-responders to annual questionnaires were randomised to receive a telephone call from the trial office ahead of the reminder questionnaire in addition to the usual reminder schedule (n = 390) or to a control group that received the usual reminder schedule only (n = 363). The primary outcome was response to the reminder questionnaire within 21 days; secondary outcomes were response to a questionnaire 4 months later; completeness of quality of life instruments; and the number of participants declining further follow-up. Results are presented as odds ratios from a logistic regression intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis and then percentage difference and 95{\%} confidence intervals (CI) for both ITT and average treatment effect on the treated (ATT) analyses.ResultsThe proportions that responded were 67.8{\%} (265/390) in the intervention group compared to 62.5{\%} (227/363) in the control group. The ITT estimate was a 5.4{\%} increase (95{\%} CI −1.4 to 12.2). Four months later percentages responding were 51.8{\%} (202) and 42.7{\%} (155). The ITT estimate was a 9.1{\%} increase (95{\%} CI 2.0 to 16.2). In the intervention group 12.3{\%} (48/390) of participants were not telephoned because questionnaires were returned before the scheduled telephone call. ATT estimates adjusting for this were 6.2{\%} (95{\%} CI −1.6 to 14.0) and 10.4{\%} (95{\%} CI 2.2 to 18.5), respectively.ConclusionsThe telephone call resulted in a slight increase in response to the reminder questionnaire, however at 4 months later the proportion in the telephoned group responding was greater. This study suggests that pre-notification telephone calls may only be worthwhile if further questionnaires are to be sent out soon after reminder questionnaires.",
keywords = "telephone reminders, postal questionnaires, response rates, average treatment effect on the treated",
author = "Graeme Maclennan and Alison McDonald and Gladys McPherson and Shaun Treweek and Alison Avenell and {RECORD Trial Group}",
year = "2014",
month = "1",
doi = "10.1186/1745-6215-15-13",
language = "English",
volume = "15",
journal = "Trials",
issn = "1745-6215",
publisher = "BioMed Central",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Advance telephone calls ahead of reminder questionnaires increase response rate in non-responders compared to questionnaire reminders only

T2 - The RECORD phone trial

AU - Maclennan, Graeme

AU - McDonald, Alison

AU - McPherson, Gladys

AU - Treweek, Shaun

AU - Avenell, Alison

AU - RECORD Trial Group

PY - 2014/1

Y1 - 2014/1

N2 - BackgroundPostal questionnaires are simple and economical for collecting outcome data for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) but are prone to non-response. In the RECORD trial (a large pragmatic publicly funded RCT in UK) non-responders were sent a reminder and another questionnaire at 1 year, of which 40% were returned. In subsequent years we investigated the effect of an advance telephone call to non-responders on responses rate to reminder questionnaires and the next questionnaire 4 months later.MethodsNon-responders to annual questionnaires were randomised to receive a telephone call from the trial office ahead of the reminder questionnaire in addition to the usual reminder schedule (n = 390) or to a control group that received the usual reminder schedule only (n = 363). The primary outcome was response to the reminder questionnaire within 21 days; secondary outcomes were response to a questionnaire 4 months later; completeness of quality of life instruments; and the number of participants declining further follow-up. Results are presented as odds ratios from a logistic regression intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis and then percentage difference and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for both ITT and average treatment effect on the treated (ATT) analyses.ResultsThe proportions that responded were 67.8% (265/390) in the intervention group compared to 62.5% (227/363) in the control group. The ITT estimate was a 5.4% increase (95% CI −1.4 to 12.2). Four months later percentages responding were 51.8% (202) and 42.7% (155). The ITT estimate was a 9.1% increase (95% CI 2.0 to 16.2). In the intervention group 12.3% (48/390) of participants were not telephoned because questionnaires were returned before the scheduled telephone call. ATT estimates adjusting for this were 6.2% (95% CI −1.6 to 14.0) and 10.4% (95% CI 2.2 to 18.5), respectively.ConclusionsThe telephone call resulted in a slight increase in response to the reminder questionnaire, however at 4 months later the proportion in the telephoned group responding was greater. This study suggests that pre-notification telephone calls may only be worthwhile if further questionnaires are to be sent out soon after reminder questionnaires.

AB - BackgroundPostal questionnaires are simple and economical for collecting outcome data for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) but are prone to non-response. In the RECORD trial (a large pragmatic publicly funded RCT in UK) non-responders were sent a reminder and another questionnaire at 1 year, of which 40% were returned. In subsequent years we investigated the effect of an advance telephone call to non-responders on responses rate to reminder questionnaires and the next questionnaire 4 months later.MethodsNon-responders to annual questionnaires were randomised to receive a telephone call from the trial office ahead of the reminder questionnaire in addition to the usual reminder schedule (n = 390) or to a control group that received the usual reminder schedule only (n = 363). The primary outcome was response to the reminder questionnaire within 21 days; secondary outcomes were response to a questionnaire 4 months later; completeness of quality of life instruments; and the number of participants declining further follow-up. Results are presented as odds ratios from a logistic regression intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis and then percentage difference and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for both ITT and average treatment effect on the treated (ATT) analyses.ResultsThe proportions that responded were 67.8% (265/390) in the intervention group compared to 62.5% (227/363) in the control group. The ITT estimate was a 5.4% increase (95% CI −1.4 to 12.2). Four months later percentages responding were 51.8% (202) and 42.7% (155). The ITT estimate was a 9.1% increase (95% CI 2.0 to 16.2). In the intervention group 12.3% (48/390) of participants were not telephoned because questionnaires were returned before the scheduled telephone call. ATT estimates adjusting for this were 6.2% (95% CI −1.6 to 14.0) and 10.4% (95% CI 2.2 to 18.5), respectively.ConclusionsThe telephone call resulted in a slight increase in response to the reminder questionnaire, however at 4 months later the proportion in the telephoned group responding was greater. This study suggests that pre-notification telephone calls may only be worthwhile if further questionnaires are to be sent out soon after reminder questionnaires.

KW - telephone reminders

KW - postal questionnaires

KW - response rates

KW - average treatment effect on the treated

U2 - 10.1186/1745-6215-15-13

DO - 10.1186/1745-6215-15-13

M3 - Article

VL - 15

JO - Trials

JF - Trials

SN - 1745-6215

M1 - 13

ER -