Optimising recruitment and informed consent in randomised controlled trials: the development and implementation of the QuinteT Recruitment Intervention (QRI)

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Abstract

Background

Pragmatic randomised controlled trials (RCTs) are considered essential to determine effective interventions for routine clinical practice, but many fail to recruit participants efficiently, and some really important RCTs are not undertaken because recruitment is thought to be too difficult. The ‘QuinteT Recruitment Intervention’ (QRI) aims to facilitate informed decision making by patients about RCT participation and to increase recruitment. This paper presents the development and implementation of the QRI.

Methods

The QRI developed iteratively as a complex intervention. It emerged from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) ProtecT trial and has been developed further in 13 RCTs. The final version of the QRI uses a combination of standard and innovative qualitative research methods with some simple quantification to understand recruitment and identify sources of difficulties.

Results

The QRI has two major phases: understanding recruitment as it happens and then developing a plan of action to address identified difficulties and optimise informed consent in collaboration with the RCT chief investigator (CI) and the Clinical Trials Unit (CTU). The plan of action usually includes RCT-specific, as well as generic, aspects. The QRI can be used in two ways: it can be integrated into the feasibility/pilot or main phase of an RCT to prevent difficulties developing and optimise recruitment from the start, or it can be applied to an ongoing RCT experiencing recruitment shortfalls, with a view to rapidly improving recruitment and informed consent or gathering evidence to justify RCT closure.

Conclusions

The QRI provides a flexible way of understanding recruitment difficulties and producing a plan to address them while ensuring engaged and well-informed decision making by patients. It can facilitate recruitment to the most controversial and important RCTs. QRIs are likely to be of interest to the CIs and CTUs developing proposals for ‘difficult’ RCTs or for RCTs with lower than expected recruitment and to the funding bodies wishing to promote efficient recruitment in pragmatic RCTs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number283 (2016)
Number of pages11
JournalTrials
Volume17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2016

Structured keywords

  • ConDuCT-II
  • Centre for Surgical Research

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  • ConDuCT-II

    Blazeby, J.

    1/04/1431/03/19

    Project: Research

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