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Table 1 Strategies to initiate contact with general practices and to communicate trial information to GPs

From: Strategies for recruitment in general practice settings: the iSOLVE fall prevention pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial

Communication strategiesActive communication instigated and followed up by project coordinator (AT1) with the intention of engaging and recruiting GPsPassive communication via third party with the intention of increasing awareness and interest for the trialUnique cases supporting usefulness of strategy
(2–3 sentences paragraph in an email or newsletter)
Online survey: GP fall prevention survey (to GPs and practice staff) distributed using emails in NSML database in mid-2015, as part of the iSOLVE larger project [4], which led to an expression of interest form on completion of the survey.
Email invitation:
o Invitation-to-participate emailed by one of the research investigators to GP-academics at the Department of GP at the University of Sydney.
o Invitation-to-participate emailed to GP attendees who participated at an NSML aged care forum in 2014, where fall prevention guidelines and trial information were presented amongst other topics.
iSOLVE webpage: A specific iSOLVE webpage on NSML and SNPHN website displayed information about the trial.
Clinical audit activity: iSOLVE-led fall prevention clinical audit activity accredited for GP continuing professional development promoted on SNPHN education page.
o Trial information distributed via NSML and SNPHN newsletters (approximately bi-annually).
o Newsletter distributed by the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney to promote the medication management workshop and the RACGP clinical audit activity, where trial information was provided to attendees.
• A practice did not respond to repeated invitations to participate, but the practice nurse discovered the research on the SNPHN website and engaged the practice GPs to contact iSOLVE.
(2-page double-sided flyer of trial summary on the first page and images of resources on the second page for mailout and distribution)
Mailouts: Two mailouts of promotion flyer and expression of interest form to individual GPs using addresses from NSML database, supplemented by publicly available web-based business directories.
Medication management workshop: Faxes to general practices (2015, 2016) and mailout to individual GPs (2016) to promote two iSOLVE-led “medication management for preventing falls” workshop in 2015 and 2016, where written and oral trial information was provided to attendees.
Word of mouth within iSOLVE network:
o Written trial information provided to allied health professionals who attended iSOLVE-led education workshops as part of the iSOLVE larger project [4], and other NSML or SNPHN education events.
o Rarely, patients who were keen for their GPs to participate (after learning about the trial through their peers) were provided with a flyer to show their GP, with a follow-up personalised invitation-to-participate addressed to the GP from project coordinator (AT1).
• A practice nurse had expressed interest through an NSML network but could not engage GPs to participate, however the GPs later responded to the mailed invitation to participate.
• Two GPs expressed interest through the medication workshop, despite them being mailed the invitation to participate or having previously completed the online survey.
(5–15 min presentations depending on time allocated)
Word of mouth within iSOLVE network: Potentially interested general practices identified through the iSOLVE network such as recruited GPs, advisory group members, allied health professionals, and NSML or SNPHN staff.
Presentation at GP practices: Trial information presented at practices that organised group education visits for their GPs and staff.
Word of mouth within iSOLVE network: Oral trial information provided to allied health professionals who attended iSOLVE-led education workshops as part of the iSOLVE larger project [4].
University Department of GP presentation: Trial information presented at a research showcase organised by the Department of General Practice at the University of Sydney in 2016.
• Two practices were interested at the point of receiving the mailed invitation to participate but had not responded and would not have been recruited without the practice presentations.
• Two practices did not respond to mailed invitation but responded when contacted after being identified through the iSOLVE network.
  1. SNPHN is the study area, Sydney North Primary Health Network; NSML is the former study area, Northern Sydney Medicare Local