Public Release: 

Bureaucracy stifling studies

Why GPs won't take part in research

BioMed Central

A group of researchers whose planned leg ulceration study was hamstrung by a physician recruitment rate of 2% have published the reasons why so many doctors turned them down. The qualitative information, featured in the open access journal BMC Medical Research Methodology, should be of use to those designing trials of their own.

Dr. Oliver Herber, from the University of Witten/Herdecke, Germany, worked with a team of researchers to collate the overwhelmingly negative responses received from their potential pool of 1822 medical practices. He said, "Interdisciplinary research studies, especially those between the medical and nursing professions, require careful consideration in the development and tailoring of research designs. To reduce rates of refusal and lack of initial contact, the time, money and effort needed during the planning and recruitment phase of a study must not be underestimated".

Problems identified by Herber and his colleagues include the fact that first contact with most surgeries is through non-medical admin staff who are expert at deflecting all but essential calls. They are especially unlikely to 'put through' non-doctors and may not have a doctor's appreciation for the importance of the study to be carried out. Other factors include GPs' fear of extra work, especially if that work will not be rewarded monetarily, and fear that the results of a study will somehow be used to assess them.

Speaking about the implications of this study for people designing trials, Herber said, "A sustainable and reliable network of teaching surgeries demonstrating interest in research is vital for the successful execution of scientific studies"

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Notes to Editors

1. Recruitment rates and reasons for community physicians' non-participation in an interdisciplinary intervention study on leg ulceration
Oliver R Herber, Wilfried Schnepp and Monika A Rieger
BMC Medical Research Methodology (in press)

During embargo, article available here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/imedia/1177117203251883_article.pdf?random=78656

After the embargo, article available at journal website: http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcmedresmethodol/

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

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2. BMC Medical Research Methodology is an open access journal publishing original peer-reviewed research articles in methodological approaches to healthcare research. Articles on the methodology of epidemiological research, clinical trials and meta-analysis/systematic review are particularly encouraged, as are empirical studies of the associations between choice of methodology and study outcomes. BMC Medical Research Methodology (ISSN 1471-2288) is indexed/tracked/covered by PubMed, MEDLINE, CAS, Scopus, EMBASE, Current Contents, Thomson Reuters (ISI) and Google Scholar.

3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.

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