Context: This study assessed differences in the effort and resources needed to recruit clinicians for a shortterm infectious disease sentinel surveillance project.
Objective: Measure differences in recruitment efficiency, time to obtain informed consent, and compliance to a Web-based demographic survey between 3 physician groups.
Design: We recruited Wisconsin clinicians by e-mail, phone, or fax from a primary care practice-based research network (PBRN), an influenza sentinel clinician program, and a state academy of family physicians to participate in a demographic survey prior to a surveillance project.
Results: Successful recruitment of a sentinel clinician required 2-3 hours of staff time. Clinicians affiliated with the PBRN had the highest recruitment efficiencies (1 recruit for every 1.67 contacts; P < 0.0001). Participants already involved in ongoing influenza surveillance returned consent forms faster than other clinicians (P = 0.044). We did not identify differences in questionnaire response time between the 3 groups (P = 0.718).
Conclusions: We observed large and significant differences among 3 primary care groups in the efficiency of recruiting for participation in public health sentinel surveillance. Members of established networks were more approachable and rapidly recruited. Following recruitment, only minimal differences in performance were noted among the groups. Therefore, recruitment for sentinel surveillance is enhanced through the use of established clinic networks.