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  • Poster presentation
  • Open Access

Advance telephone notification of follow-up in the healthlines study: a nested study of patients with depression

  • 1,
  • 1,
  • 1,
  • 2,
  • 2 and
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Trials201516 (Suppl 2) :P111

  • Published:


  • Public Health
  • Primary Outcome
  • Secondary Outcome
  • Study Centre
  • Completion Rate


Advance notification may increase response to follow-up questionnaires among trial participants, but the benefit of this resource-intensive activity remains uncertain. This study investigated the effectiveness of pre-calling participants with depression ahead of follow-up in The Healthlines Study, a trial of a telehealth intervention.


Participants in one of the three study centres were alternately allocated to either be telephoned 2-7 days before sending an 8-month follow-up questionnaire by post or email, or to be sent the questionnaire without pre-calling. All participants received up to five questionnaire completion reminders. The primary outcome was completion of the PHQ-9 outcome. Secondary outcomes were number of reminders and time to questionnaire completion.


201 participants were included in the nested study (100 to pre-calling), of a total of 609 in the Healthlines depression trial. Outcome completion was ≥90% in both arms (OR 0.82, 95% CI 0.31 to 2.19). Participants in the pre-calling arm were less likely to require a reminder (47% vs 62%, OR 0.46, 0.25 to 0.84), required fewer reminders (difference in means -0.6, -1.1 to -0.2), and completed follow-up quicker (median 8 vs 15 days, HR 1.24, 0.92 to 1.66) than participants who received no pre-calling.


Outcome completion rate at 8-months follow-up was high. There was no evidence that pre-calling participants achieved better completion rates, nor reduced overall net effort required to achieve follow-up after taking into account pre-contacting these participants. Pre-calling may be helpful when timing of outcome completion is important.

Authors’ Affiliations

University of Bristol, Bristol, Bristol, UK
University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK


© Edwards et al. 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


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