Comparison of characteristics and outcomes by initial study contact (website versus staff) for participants enrolled in a weight management study.

Posted: Jul 26, 2012
Clin Trials. 9. 2. 226-31.
KEYWORDS: Verbal Communications, Web, Brochure or Flyer, Non-Cancer


The Internet can be a useful tool for increasing outreach and recruitment into large clinical trials.

Why this item may be useful

This study compared recruitment to a weight management study using an Internet-based information and registration system and a telephone-based system in which potential participants spoke to study staff on the telephone. Enrolled participants who used the website to register for an initial study information session had similar study retention and outcome performance as did enrollees who used the telephone method. Two-thirds of enrollees chose the website option. For larger clinical trials, a website may help achieve recruitment, eligibility, and randomization goals more cost-effectively and efficiently.


  • All study outreach materials contained both a website address and a telephone number through which respondents could register for an information session.
  • The group that registered via the website was younger and had higher education levels, higher income, and lower body mass index (BMI). There were no group differences with respect to gender and race.
  • Both methods of enrollment yielded low rates of ineligible potential participants.