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Table 2 Suggestions for improving recruitment and patient responses

From: Building an international network for a primary care research program: reflections on challenges and solutions in the set-up and delivery of a prospective observational study of acute cough in 13 European countries

Improve Recruitment Improve patient Diary Response Rate
Appoint key individuals within surgeries/health centers responsible for the running of GRACE-01. Send a letter when the patient is unable to be contacted by phone between days 4-7
Practice receptionists give patient information sheet to all patients attending with a cough to read in the waiting room; incentives for receptionist (e.g. £5 voucher per patient recruited). Clinicians register if the patient has a preferred contact telephone number (e.g. mobile phone) and the best time of day to contact them.
Clinicians to reserve slots in their routine consultation schedules, clearly identified as GRACE-01 slots.
OR
Ask clinicians to plan ahead slots in their consultation schedule with the subject GRACE-01. This will also remind them of the study
Flow diagram at the beginning of the patient diary detailing process for completing the patient diary. Use different colored paper for general questions that are separate from the daily questions to help ensure patients do not miss questions.
Increase clinician involvement by giving them a GRACE certificate of participation. Advertise and hold a lottery with all patients who have returned a patient diary as an incentive to complete and return the patient diary
Refresher/re-training clinicians in the consent process of GRACE-01 procedures Shortened version of patient diary with selected key main outcome questions when no patient diary has been returned.