Pre-notification did not increase response rate in addition to follow-up: a randomized trial

J Clin Epidemiol. 2010 Nov;63(11):1276-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2010.03.011. Epub 2010 Jun 20.


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.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Data Collection / statistics & numerical data
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Quality Control
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*