Optimising retention success: a research team’s experience of following-up participants recruited to a pilot trial through community pharmacies in England

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Background: Community pharmacies support a range of patients and medical conditions, and form an important part of comprehensive, holistic healthcare services. The role of a community pharmacist has changed significantly over recent years, developing to include research activities. The CHAMP-1 (Community pharmacy: Highlighting Alcohol use in Medication aPpointments) pilot trial aimed to explore an intervention discussing alcohol during medication consultations. It presented various challenges regarding patient retention, and various actions were taken to address these, which are discussed in this manuscript.
Method: Community pharmacists recruited patients aged 18 and over, attending a Medicine Use Review (MUR) or New Medicine Service (NMS) consultation, and drinking alcohol at least twice per week. Pharmacies were randomised to conduct their consultations as usual (control), or to incorporate the Medicines and Alcohol Consultation (MAC) intervention. All participants were followed-up by a researcher after two months to complete data collection via telephone or post.
Results: Forty-seven of 51 participants (92%) completed the two month follow-up. Thirty-eight (81%) responses were provided by telephone and nine (19%) by post. Of the 38 follow-up calls completed by telephone, 17 (45%) participants were reached at first attempt; 16 (42%) at second attempt; and five (13%) at the third attempt.
Conclusions: The results suggest that patients recruited to a trial by community pharmacists are willing to take part in data collection activities, and follow-up can be successfully conducted by researchers. The techniques employed to encourage high levels of retention should be investigated further in a larger study.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Issue number1042
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 Watson M et al.

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