Supporting successful recruitment in a randomized control trial comparing clinic and home-based exercise among adults with multiple sclerosis

Res Involv Engagem. 2022 Jul 29;8(1):35. doi: 10.1186/s40900-022-00366-6.


BACKGROUND: The Tele- Exercise and Multiple Sclerosis (TEAMS) study, funded by the Patient Centered Outcome Research Institute (PCORI), is a pragmatic, cluster randomized controlled trial aimed at comparing the effectiveness of a 12-week complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) program for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) delivered by a therapist at a clinic and the same program initiated by the participant at home using a tablet and pre-recorded videos. The 20-session CAM program consists of yoga, Pilates and dual tasking exercises. The study aimed to enroll 820 participants with MS living in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.

MAIN BODY: The information provided in this paper describes the strategies that led to the largest randomized controlled exercise trial ever conducted for people with multiple sclerosis. Specifically, the paper presents the result of incorporating stakeholder engagement, a novel participant recruitment method, to produce a successful recruitment outcome for a comparative effectiveness randomized controlled trial. This study used three tiers of engagement: panel members (9 members), clinical partners (88 occupational and physical therapists), and community organizations (6 non-profits).

CONCLUSION: Engagement of the stakeholder panel, clinical partners and community organizations led to interest of over 1700 people with MS across three states in the Deep South (final enrollment was n = 837). The diversity of our stakeholder groups and their extensive reach into various communities were a critical aspect for achieving our target sample size. The recruitment numbers reflect the importance of involving multiple stakeholder groups at project inception, developing relationships over time, utilizing member strengths, and monitoring their engagement on a regular basis to ensure a meaningful experience for all involved.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT03117881. Registered 18 April 2017, .

PMID:35906699 | DOI:10.1186/s40900-022-00366-6

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