Improving response rates using a monetary incentive for patient completion of questionnaires

an observational study

Stephen D Brealey, Christine Atwell, Stirling Bryan, Simon Coulton, Helen Cox, Ben Cross, Fiona Fylan, Andrew Garratt, Fiona J Gilbert, Maureen G C Gillan, Maggie Hendry, Kerenza Hood, Helen Houston, David King, Veronica Morton, Jo Orchard, Michael Robling, Ian T Russell, David Torgerson, Valerie Wadsworth & 1 others Clare Wilkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: Poor response rates to postal questionnaires can introduce bias and reduce the statistical power of a study. To improve response rates in our trial in primary care we tested the effect of introducing an unconditional direct payment of 5 pound for the completion of postal questionnaires.

Methods: We recruited patients in general practice with knee problems from sites across the United Kingdom. An evidence-based strategy was used to follow-up patients at twelve months with postal questionnaires. This included an unconditional direct payment of 5 pound to patients for the completion and return of questionnaires. The first 105 patients did not receive the 5 pound incentive, but the subsequent 442 patients did. We used logistic regression to analyse the effect of introducing a monetary incentive to increase the response to postal questionnaires.

Results: The response rate following reminders for the historical controls was 78.1% ( 82 of 105) compared with 88.0% ( 389 of 442) for those patients who received the 5 pound payment (diff = 9.9%, 95% CI 2.3% to 19.1%). Direct payments significantly increased the odds of response ( adjusted odds ratio = 2.2, 95% CI 1.2 to 4.0, P = 0.009) with only 12 of 442 patients declining the payment. The incentive did not save costs to the trial - the extra cost per additional respondent was almost 50 pound.

Conclusion: The direct payment of 5 pound significantly increased the completion of postal questionnaires at negligible increase in cost for an adequately powered study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12
Number of pages5
JournalBMC Medical Research Methodology
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2007

Keywords

  • randomized controlled-trials
  • primary-care

Cite this

Improving response rates using a monetary incentive for patient completion of questionnaires : an observational study. / Brealey, Stephen D; Atwell, Christine; Bryan, Stirling; Coulton, Simon; Cox, Helen; Cross, Ben; Fylan, Fiona; Garratt, Andrew; Gilbert, Fiona J; Gillan, Maureen G C; Hendry, Maggie; Hood, Kerenza; Houston, Helen; King, David; Morton, Veronica; Orchard, Jo; Robling, Michael; Russell, Ian T; Torgerson, David; Wadsworth, Valerie; Wilkinson, Clare.

In: BMC Medical Research Methodology, Vol. 7, 12, 27.02.2007.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Brealey, SD, Atwell, C, Bryan, S, Coulton, S, Cox, H, Cross, B, Fylan, F, Garratt, A, Gilbert, FJ, Gillan, MGC, Hendry, M, Hood, K, Houston, H, King, D, Morton, V, Orchard, J, Robling, M, Russell, IT, Torgerson, D, Wadsworth, V & Wilkinson, C 2007, 'Improving response rates using a monetary incentive for patient completion of questionnaires: an observational study', BMC Medical Research Methodology, vol. 7, 12. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2288-7-12
Brealey, Stephen D ; Atwell, Christine ; Bryan, Stirling ; Coulton, Simon ; Cox, Helen ; Cross, Ben ; Fylan, Fiona ; Garratt, Andrew ; Gilbert, Fiona J ; Gillan, Maureen G C ; Hendry, Maggie ; Hood, Kerenza ; Houston, Helen ; King, David ; Morton, Veronica ; Orchard, Jo ; Robling, Michael ; Russell, Ian T ; Torgerson, David ; Wadsworth, Valerie ; Wilkinson, Clare. / Improving response rates using a monetary incentive for patient completion of questionnaires : an observational study. In: BMC Medical Research Methodology. 2007 ; Vol. 7.
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abstract = "Background: Poor response rates to postal questionnaires can introduce bias and reduce the statistical power of a study. To improve response rates in our trial in primary care we tested the effect of introducing an unconditional direct payment of 5 pound for the completion of postal questionnaires.Methods: We recruited patients in general practice with knee problems from sites across the United Kingdom. An evidence-based strategy was used to follow-up patients at twelve months with postal questionnaires. This included an unconditional direct payment of 5 pound to patients for the completion and return of questionnaires. The first 105 patients did not receive the 5 pound incentive, but the subsequent 442 patients did. We used logistic regression to analyse the effect of introducing a monetary incentive to increase the response to postal questionnaires.Results: The response rate following reminders for the historical controls was 78.1{\%} ( 82 of 105) compared with 88.0{\%} ( 389 of 442) for those patients who received the 5 pound payment (diff = 9.9{\%}, 95{\%} CI 2.3{\%} to 19.1{\%}). Direct payments significantly increased the odds of response ( adjusted odds ratio = 2.2, 95{\%} CI 1.2 to 4.0, P = 0.009) with only 12 of 442 patients declining the payment. The incentive did not save costs to the trial - the extra cost per additional respondent was almost 50 pound.Conclusion: The direct payment of 5 pound significantly increased the completion of postal questionnaires at negligible increase in cost for an adequately powered study.",
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T2 - an observational study

AU - Brealey, Stephen D

AU - Atwell, Christine

AU - Bryan, Stirling

AU - Coulton, Simon

AU - Cox, Helen

AU - Cross, Ben

AU - Fylan, Fiona

AU - Garratt, Andrew

AU - Gilbert, Fiona J

AU - Gillan, Maureen G C

AU - Hendry, Maggie

AU - Hood, Kerenza

AU - Houston, Helen

AU - King, David

AU - Morton, Veronica

AU - Orchard, Jo

AU - Robling, Michael

AU - Russell, Ian T

AU - Torgerson, David

AU - Wadsworth, Valerie

AU - Wilkinson, Clare

PY - 2007/2/27

Y1 - 2007/2/27

N2 - Background: Poor response rates to postal questionnaires can introduce bias and reduce the statistical power of a study. To improve response rates in our trial in primary care we tested the effect of introducing an unconditional direct payment of 5 pound for the completion of postal questionnaires.Methods: We recruited patients in general practice with knee problems from sites across the United Kingdom. An evidence-based strategy was used to follow-up patients at twelve months with postal questionnaires. This included an unconditional direct payment of 5 pound to patients for the completion and return of questionnaires. The first 105 patients did not receive the 5 pound incentive, but the subsequent 442 patients did. We used logistic regression to analyse the effect of introducing a monetary incentive to increase the response to postal questionnaires.Results: The response rate following reminders for the historical controls was 78.1% ( 82 of 105) compared with 88.0% ( 389 of 442) for those patients who received the 5 pound payment (diff = 9.9%, 95% CI 2.3% to 19.1%). Direct payments significantly increased the odds of response ( adjusted odds ratio = 2.2, 95% CI 1.2 to 4.0, P = 0.009) with only 12 of 442 patients declining the payment. The incentive did not save costs to the trial - the extra cost per additional respondent was almost 50 pound.Conclusion: The direct payment of 5 pound significantly increased the completion of postal questionnaires at negligible increase in cost for an adequately powered study.

AB - Background: Poor response rates to postal questionnaires can introduce bias and reduce the statistical power of a study. To improve response rates in our trial in primary care we tested the effect of introducing an unconditional direct payment of 5 pound for the completion of postal questionnaires.Methods: We recruited patients in general practice with knee problems from sites across the United Kingdom. An evidence-based strategy was used to follow-up patients at twelve months with postal questionnaires. This included an unconditional direct payment of 5 pound to patients for the completion and return of questionnaires. The first 105 patients did not receive the 5 pound incentive, but the subsequent 442 patients did. We used logistic regression to analyse the effect of introducing a monetary incentive to increase the response to postal questionnaires.Results: The response rate following reminders for the historical controls was 78.1% ( 82 of 105) compared with 88.0% ( 389 of 442) for those patients who received the 5 pound payment (diff = 9.9%, 95% CI 2.3% to 19.1%). Direct payments significantly increased the odds of response ( adjusted odds ratio = 2.2, 95% CI 1.2 to 4.0, P = 0.009) with only 12 of 442 patients declining the payment. The incentive did not save costs to the trial - the extra cost per additional respondent was almost 50 pound.Conclusion: The direct payment of 5 pound significantly increased the completion of postal questionnaires at negligible increase in cost for an adequately powered study.

KW - randomized controlled-trials

KW - primary-care

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DO - 10.1186/1471-2288-7-12

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JO - BMC Medical Research Methodology

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SN - 1471-2288

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ER -