A randomized colorectal cancer screening intervention trial in the Iowa Research Network (IRENE): study recruitment methods and baseline results

J Am Board Fam Med. Jan-Feb 2012;25(1):63-72. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2012.01.110054.


Background: Only about half of eligible Americans are adherent with colorectal cancer (CRC) screening. Because patients generally access CRC screening via their primary care physicians, interventions to improve screening should be tested in the primary care setting. This article describes the recruitment and baseline characteristics of patients from 16 practice-based research network practices for a study to improve CRC screening.

Methods: A total of 8327 invitations were mailed to patients of these practices, and 1685 returned consent forms and baseline surveys.

Results: Of those who consented, 942 were up to date with screening, which indicates that office databases were unable to provide information about those who were already screened. The 743 due for screening were younger (mean age, 61 vs. 63 years), less likely to have an immediate family member with CRC (11% vs. 19%), less likely to have Medicare (29% vs. 40%), more likely to have no insurance (5% vs. 1%), and less likely to report a physician/nurse recommendation for CRC screening (63% vs. 92%) for all comparisons.

Conclusions: Our experiences for this practice-based research network randomized clinical intervention trial may be useful to others. Practice and patient recruitment processes were onerous with institutional review board issues, poorly prepared patient databases, and discarding of mail by the US Postal Service.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01477814.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iowa
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Selection*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Research Design
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01477814