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Recruitment of Family Practitioners for Research

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2012.0173-0181

Erfahrungen aus fünf allgemeinmedizinischen Studien

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Ferdinand Michael Gerlach, Martin Beyer, Antje Erler, Jochen Gensichen, Barbara Hoffmann, Juliana J. Petersen, Corina Guethlin, Karola Mergenthal, Christiane Muth, Vera Müller

Keywords: Family Medicine Practice Recruitment Research Methodology

Experiences from Five Studies

Background: Research in family medicine is generally conducted in family practices. Thus, the successful recruitment of family practices is of crucial importance when conducting trials in this setting. In this article, experiences gathered during the recruitment of family practices for five research projects are described, and experiences and empirical findings are discussed against this background.

Materials/Methods: Recruitment strategies for the following five research projects are presented: a randomized clinical trial on patient safety in family practices, a cross-sectional observational trial including a survey and qualitative research on the „medical home“ concept, a prospective multicenter cohort study on multimorbidity in old age, a randomized controlled pilot study on the prioritization and optimization of multimedication in cases of multimorbidity and a randomized clinical trial on case management for depressed patients.

Results: Recruitment strategies and results differed to the same degree as the research projects, whereby recruitment was mostly based on a list of family practices provided by the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians. It is generally possible to enlist 3–4% of the initially contacted practices. However, even such a low recruitment rate demands many time-consuming follow-up calls and letters.

Conclusion: The recruitment of study practices is one of the most laborious stages in family medicine research. This is particularly true in Germany where a network of research practices close to research sites has yet to be set up. Thus, recruitment is carried out anew for each project and modest participation rates are the rule. Participation rates can be increased by means of accompanying measures (e.g. by strengthening cooperation between practices and universities).


(State: 24.04.2012)

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