Recruitment and retention in longitudinal studies can be challenging because the numbers of participants may not adequately reflect the targeted population.
The aim of the study was to present a replicable pathway model of recruitment via retrospective chart review and describe outcomes of the recruitment methods used in the model on enrollment, scheduling, and attrition.
This retrospective chart review included recruitment data from participants of a parent grant (n = 99) that met chart review inclusion criteria (n = 47) for a follow-up study measuring microbiome data of preterm infants at toddler and preschool age.
Over a 3-year recruitment period, 25 of the 47 participants eligible for recruitment were enrolled in the follow-up study. Initial contact was more likely to be performed via mail and e-mail for first time points and via phone for subsequent contact and second time points. For scheduling, phone contact was the method utilized most frequently for both groups, with online scheduling second when introduced in the preschool group. Two participants were lost to follow-up, resulting in an attrition rate of 8%.
This recruitment pathway model offers researchers multiple recruitment methods for initial contact and scheduling that may be useful in contacting more participants to positively affect enrollment and reduce attrition rates for longitudinal cohorts. The innovation of recruitment methods via Facebook for initial contact and online scheduling are new methods with promise and multiple benefits for the research staff and participants.
Jessica M. Gordon, PhD, APRN, CPNP-PC, is Assistant Professor, College of Nursing, University of South Florida, Tampa.
Kaitlyn Proschold, MSN, ARNP, CCRN, is Registered Nurse, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland. At the time this research was completed, she was graduate nurse research assistant and Jonas Scholar at the College of Nursing, University of South Florida, Tampa.
Cedric Harville, II, MPH, is Project Manager, College of Nursing, University of South Florida, Tampa.
Samia Dutra, PhD, RN, is Postdoctoral Fellow, College of Nursing, University of South Florida, Tampa.
Maureen Groer, PhD, RN, is Professor, College of Nursing, University of South Florida, Tampa.
Accepted for publication January 6, 2019.
Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01NR015446-04. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
Prior to conducting this research, procedures and protocols were approved by the University of South Florida Institutional Review Board. The protection of human subjects was ensured by changing participant names to numbers and having a two-lock system to access secured files and by exclusively utilizing Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-certified e-mail communication and data sharing devices that were password protected.
The authors thank Brad Kane for his contribution to this research and technical skills in the laboratory.
The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.
Corresponding author: Jessica Gordon, PhD, APRN, CPNP-PC, College of Nursing, University of South Florida, 12912 USF Health Dr., Tampa, FL 33612 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Online date: June 28, 2019