Objective: Although there is growing evidence on the effectiveness of pre-notification and follow-up on response rates in patient surveys, no studies report the effectiveness of pre-notification in addition to follow-up. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of a pre-notification by mail on the response rate in a patient survey with follow-up, compared with follow-up or pre-notification only.
Study design and setting: Randomized trial that compared (1) a combination of pre-notification and follow-up with (2) pre-notification only and (3) follow-up only. The trial was integrated in a survey study among patients, which measured their experiences with general practice cooperatives for out-of-hour care.
Results: Of the total number of 880 patients who received the questionnaire, 45% returned it. No significant effect was found of the combination of pre-notification and follow-up compared with the two other arms of the trial.
Conclusion: Adding pre-notification to follow-up in a patient survey had no additional effect on the response rate. This finding must be interpreted with respect to the questionnaire and the study population.
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