Recruitment Strategies and Costs Associated With Enrolling People With Insomnia and High Blood Pressure Into an Online Behavioral Sleep Intervention: A Single-Site Pilot Study

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Recruitment in clinical research is a common challenge and source of study failure. The reporting of recruitment methods and costs in hypertension trials is limited especially for smaller, single-site trials, online intervention trials, and trials using newer online recruitment strategies.


The aims of this study are to describe and examine the feasibility of newer online-e-mail recruitment strategies and traditional recruitment strategies used to enroll participants with insomnia and high blood pressure into an online behavioral sleep intervention study (Sleeping for Heart Health).


The 16 online-e-mail–based and traditional recruitment strategies used are described. Recruitment strategy feasibility was examined by study interest and enrollee yields, conversion rates, and costs (direct, remuneration, labor, and cost per enrollee).


From August 2014 to October 2015, 183 people were screened and 58 (31.7%) enrolled in the study (51.1 ± 12.9 years, 63.8% female, 72.4% African American, 136 ± 12/88 ± 7 mm Hg, 87.9% self-reported hypertension, 67.2% self-reported antihypertensive medication use). The recruitment strategies yielding the highest enrollees were the university hospital phone waiting message system (25.4%), Craigslist (22.4%), and flyers (20.3%) at a per enrollee cost of $42.84, $98.90, and $128.27, respectively. The university hospital phone waiting message system (55.6%) and flyers (54.5%) had the highest interested participant to enrolled participant conversion rate of all recruitment strategies.


Approximately 70% of all enrolled participants were recruited from the university hospital phone waiting message system, Craigslist, or flyers. Given the recruitment challenges that most researchers face, we encourage the documenting, assessing, and reporting of detailed recruitment strategies and associated recruitment costs so that other researchers may benefit.

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