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Enhanced invitation methods and uptake of health checks in primary care. Rapid randomised controlled trial using electronic health records

McDermott, Lisa, Wright, Alison J., Cornelius, Victoria, Burgess, Caroline, Forster, Alice S., Ashworth, Mark, Koshaba, Bernadette, Clery, Philippa, Fuller, Frances, Miller, Jane, Dodhia, Hiten, Rudisill, Caroline, Conner, Mark T. and Gulliford, Martin C. (2016) Enhanced invitation methods and uptake of health checks in primary care. Rapid randomised controlled trial using electronic health records. Health Technology Assessment, 20 (84). p. 385. ISSN 1366-5278

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Identification Number: 10.3310/hta20840


Background: A national programme of health checks to identify risk of cardiovascular disease is being rolled out but is encountering difficulties of low uptake. Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of an enhanced invitation method using the Question-Behaviour Effect (QBE), with or without the offer of a financial incentive to return the QBE questionnaire, at increasing the uptake of health checks. Secondary objectives were to evaluate reasons for low uptake of invitations and to compare case-mix for invited and opportunistic health checks. Trial design: Three-arm randomised trial. Participants: All participants invited for health checks from 18 general practices. Randomisation: Individual participants were randomised. Interventions: i) standard health check invitation only, ii) QBE questionnaire followed by standard invitation; iii) QBE questionnaire with offer of a financial incentive to return the questionnaire, followed by standard invitation. Outcomes: The primary outcome was completion of health check within six months of randomisation. A P value of 0.0167 was used for significance. Case-mix was evaluated for invited and opportunistic health checks. Blinding: Participants were not aware that several types of invitation were in use. The research team were blind to trial arm allocation at outcome data extraction. Results: There were 12,459 participants allocated and health check uptake was evaluated for 12,052 participants for whom outcome data were collected. Health check uptake was: standard invitation, 590 / 4,095 (14.4%); QBE questionnaire, 630 / 3,988 (15.8%); QBE questionnaire and financial incentive, 629 / 3,969 (15.9%). The increase in uptake associated with QBE questionnaire was 1.43% (95% confidence interval -0.12 to 2.97%, P=0.070) and for the QBE questionnaire and offer of financial incentive was 1.52% (-0.03 to 3.07%, P=0.054). The difference in uptake associated with the offer of an incentive to return the QBE questionnaire was -0.01% (-1.59 to 1.58%, P=0.995). During the study, 58% of health check cardiovascular risk assessments did not follow a trial invitation. People who received ‘opportunistic’ health checks had greater odds of ≥10% cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk; adjusted odds ratio 1.70, 95% confidence interval 1.45 to 1.99, P<0.001) compared with invited health checks. Conclusion: Uptake of health checks following an invitation letter is low and is not increased through an enhanced invitation method using the QBE, with or without an incentive. A high proportion of all health checks are performed opportunistically. Participants receiving opportunistic checks are at higher risk of CVD than those responding to standard invitations. Trial registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN42856343.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 Queen’s Printer and Controller of HMSO
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2016 08:50
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 15:33
Projects: 11/129/61, G100702
Funders: National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment Programme, Guy's and St. Thomas’ Charity

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