Determining call-to-entry rate and recruitment barriers in clinical studies for community clinics serving low-income populations: A cohort study

Document Type



Cardiology; Office of the Provost


Background: Recruitment for clinical studies is challenging. To overcome barriers, investigators have previously established call-to-entry rates to assist in planning. However, rates specific to low-income minority populations are needed to account for additional barriers to enrolment these individuals face.
Objective: To obtain a call-to-entry rate in a low-income uninsured Hispanic population with chronic disease.
Methods: We used data from four of our randomised clinical studies to determine the call-to-entry rate for individuals (n=1075) with or at risk for type 2 diabetes: participants needed/potential participants contacted=recruitment rate (yield). Research staff contacted potential participants to enrol in a study that evaluated 6 month diabetes programmes at community clinics from 2015 to 2020. We recorded call-to-entry rates, reasons for declining the study, show rates, and attrition.
Results: The call-to-entry rate was 14.5%. Forty per cent of potential participants could not be contacted, and 30.6%, 19.1%, and 5.4% responded yes, no, and maybe, respectively. No show percentages were 54% for yes and 91.4% for maybe responders. The majority (61.6%) declined due to inability to attend; reasons to decline included work (43%), eligibility (18%), transportation (10%), out of town (9%), did not think they needed the programme (7%) and other/unknown (14%). Being a physician predicted inability to reach participants (adjusted OR 2.91, 95% CI 1.73 to 4.90). Attrition was 6.8%.
Conclusions: We described a call-to-entry rate and detailed recruitment data, including reasons to decline the study. This valuable information can assist investigators in study planning and overcoming enrolment barriers in low-income populations. Telehealth-based or strategies that limit transportation needs may increase participant involvement.
Trial registration number: NCT03394456.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

BMJ Open



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License