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Recruiting ethnically diverse general internal medicine patients for a telephone survey on physician-patient communication

Recruiting ethnically diverse general internal medicine patients for a telephone survey on physician-patient communication

Journal of General Internal Medicine 20(5): 438-443

Limited evidence exists on the effectiveness of recruitment methods among diverse populations. Describe response rates by recruitment stage, ethnic-language group, and type of initial contact letter (for African-American and Latino patients). Tracking of response status by recruitment stage and ethnic-language group and a randomized trial of ethnically tailored initial letters nested within a cross-sectional telephone survey on physician-patient communication. Adult general medicine patients with >or=1 visit during the preceding year, stratified by 4 categories: African-American (N= 1,400), English-speaking Latino (N= 894), Spanish-speaking Latino (N= 965), and non-Latino white (N= 1,400). Ethnically tailored initial letters referred to shortages of African-American (or Latino) physicians and the need to learn about the experiences of African-American (or Latino) patients communicating with physicians. Of 2,482 patients contacted, eligible, and able to participate (identified eligibles), 69.9% completed the survey. Thirty-nine percent of the sampling frame was unable to be contacted, with losses higher among non-Latino whites (46.5%) and African Americans (44.2%) than among English-speaking (32.3%) and Spanish-speaking Latinos (25.1%). For identified eligibles, response rates were highest among Spanish-speaking Latinos (75.2%), lowest for non-Latino whites (66.4%), and intermediate for African Americans (69.7%) and English-speaking Latinos (68.1%). There were no differences in overall response rates between patients receiving ethnically tailored letters (72.2%) and those receiving general letters (70.0%). Household contact and individual response rates differed by ethnic-language group, highlighting the importance of tracking losses by stage and subpopulation. Careful attention to recruitment yielded acceptable response rates among all groups.

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Accession: 012490049

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 15963168

DOI: 10.1111/j.1525-1497.2005.0078.x

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