BMC medical research methodology 2017 11 2217(1) 150 doi 10.1186/s12874-017-0425-2
There are detailed reviews about different recruitment strategies, but not with regard to differences between recruitment of hospital-based versus office-based physicians. Within this study, the two different recruitment schemes are compared. Advantages and disadvantages of different ways of recruitment in registry-based studies are discussed.
In a cross-sectional cancer-registry-based study, long-term melanoma patients were contacted by dermatologists rather than directly by the registry on the basis of the legal situation. Logistic regression models and generalized estimating equations were used to assess effects of various patient and physician characteristics on participation and data quality. Especially differences between hospital-based versus office-based dermatologists are evaluated.
Seventy two out of 112 contacted dermatologists took part in the study (64.3%). The cooperation proportion was 52.2% (689 participants/1320 contacted patients). Participants and non-participants differed regarding age and sex, but not regarding other social demographic factors and cancer stage. We did not observe a difference in patient participation between hospital-based versus office-based dermatologists (OR 1.08 [CI 0.84-1.39]; p = 0.57). However, medical data provided by the cancer registry were better for participants registered and recruited by hospitals.
In cohort studies with epidemiological cancer registries, recruitment via physicians has potential disadvantages and is more complex. If this indirect way of contact is mandatory, we recommend recruitment procedures including hospital-based rather than office-based physicians. However, physician characteristics were not associated with outcome.