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Inj Prev 13:75-77 doi:10.1136/ip.2006.013730
  • Commentary

Recruiting participants for injury studies in emergency departments

  1. Denise Kendrick1,
  2. Ronan Lyons2,
  3. Nicola Christie3,
  4. Elizabeth Towner4,
  5. Jonathan Benger5,
  6. Lindsay Groom1,
  7. Frank Coffey6,
  8. Phillip Miller6,
  9. Rachel Murphy1,
  10. for The UK Burden of Injury Study Group
  1. 1Division of Primary Care, University Park, Nottingham, UK
  2. 2Centre for Health Information, Research and Evaluation (CHIRAL), School of Medicine Swansea University, Swansea, UK
  3. 3Surrey Injury Research Group, Postgraduate Medical School, Daphne Jackson Road, Manor Park, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK
  4. 4Centre for Child and Adolescent Health, Faculty of Health and Social Care, University of the West of England, Hampton House, Cotham Hill, Bristol, UK
  5. 5Centre for Clinical and Health Services Research, Faculty of Health and Social Care, University of the West of England, Glenside Campus, Bristol, UK
  6. 6Emergency Department, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Queen’s Medical Centre Campus, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr D Kendrick
 Division of Primary Care, Floor 13, Tower Building, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK; denise.kendrick{at}nottingham.ac.uk
  • Accepted 5 December 2006

Emergency departments have the potential to maximize recruitment efficiency and minimize recruiting costs

For many studies, especially those requiring incident injury cases, emergency departments are the most suitable location for recruiting participants.1 Although the total number of injury attendances is greater in outpatient or primary care settings than in emergency departments,2 geographical spread and the mixture of incident and prevalent cases make recruiting participants from these sites less feasible, more time consuming and more costly. Emergency departments, on the other hand, will see the largest number and spectrum of injury cases, usually presenting very shortly after injury in a single healthcare setting. This has the potential to maximize recruitment efficiency and minimize recruiting costs. Recruiting in emergency departments also provides opportunities to study the aetiology and epidemiology of injuries before recall of events diminishes with time and to enroll participants for studying short- and long-term consequences of injury. They are the only setting in which complete ascertainment of incident cases of specific injuries may be possible—for example, virtually all patients with long bone fractures will attend an emergency department, fewer will attend primary care and a proportion will be admitted to hospital, but this will vary between hospitals depending on a range of factors including clinician preference for management options, bed availability, social circumstances.3,4 Recruiting cases from emergency departments therefore, has the potential to minimize the selection bias inherent in recruiting such cases from other sites.

WHY CAN IT BE DIFFICULT TO RECRUIT STUDY PARTICIPANTS IN EMERGENCY DEPARTMENTS?

Inspite of the potential for recruiting injured patients to studies within emergency departments, there are characteristics of the clinical setting and of injured patients which may make recruitment difficult. Emergency departments are often busy and crowded places, and the demand for emergency care continues to increase.5 Many emergency departments experience shortfalls in medical staffing and difficulties in recruiting and …

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