Skip to content


  • Poster presentation
  • Open Access

Testing the effectiveness of user-tested patient information on recruitment rates across multiple trials: meta-analysis of data from the start programme

  • 1,
  • 1,
  • 7,
  • 4,
  • 3,
  • 2,
  • 5,
  • 6,
  • 3,
  • 3,
  • 2,
  • 1,
  • 1,
  • 2,
  • 4 and
  • 8
Trials201516 (Suppl 2) :P84

  • Published:


  • Evidence Base
  • Potential Participant
  • Patient Information
  • Recruitment Rate
  • User Testing


The evidence base for trial recruitment is minimal. The START research programme aims to test interventions to improve recruitment by embedding recruitment interventions across multiple ‘host’ trials.

Patient understanding of study information is critical to informed consent, but there is concern that patient information materials can be complex and deter potential participants. User testing may be a way of improving materials and enhancing recruitment.

Our aim was to test the effects of user-tested patient information materials on recruitment rates across multiple trials.


We embedded trials of the optimised materials across multiple ongoing ‘host’ trials.

Patients identified as potentially eligible in each of the trials were randomised to receive either the original patient information materials or optimised, user-tested versions.

Primary outcomes were the proportion of participants randomised .


At present, 8 trials have taken part and 4 trials have completed. The current analysis across all trials suggests that optimised materials have a modest and non-significant impact on randomisation (RR 1.08, 95% CI 0.95 to 1.23, I squared=0).

At the conference, we will present the most up-to-date results from the ongoing meta-analysis.


Recruitment to trials is not underpinned by a strong evidence-base. Embedding trials of recruitment interventions across multiple host studies provides a model for rapid improvement. We discuss the impact of the enhanced materials, and insights on the barriers to embedding recruitment trials.

Authors’ Affiliations

University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
University of York, York, UK
Queen Mary's University of London, London, UK
University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK
University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
University of Dundee, Dundee, UK


© Bower 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.


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate. Please note that comments may be removed without notice if they are flagged by another user or do not comply with our community guidelines.