Improving Follow-up of Indigent Patients Enrolled in Medical Research Studies: A Review of Two Studies in Which 100% Follow-up Was Obtained


Follow-up of indigent patients is difficult. Demographics collected at initial hospitalization change often and are unreliable. In a boxer fracture study, at 1-year follow-up, 3 out of 100 patients were available. This poor performance prompted investigation of new methods for intake/ongoing care. A direct comparison of two studies was conducted. In study 1, demographics were obtained per standard hospital procedure. Patients were paid $50.00 per visit as an incentive. In study 2, expanded demographics were gathered. Related contactswere identified and credibilitywas verified. Rapport was establishedwith the patient and family. In both studies, 100% follow-up was obtained. Significant difficulty was experienced obtaining follow-up in study 1. Patients attempted to renegotiate compensation. Follow-up was perceived as unnecessary and unpleasant. Study 2 patients kept appointments, expressed comfort during follow-up, and felt part of the treatment team. In both cases, availability of patients for follow-up increased dramatically. Financial compensation was troublesome. Providing access to an interested medical team was less cumbersome and provided superior results. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 15(2):74–78, 2006

SKU: JSOA-2006-15-2-SU2 Categories: , Tags: , ,

Joseph Rudd, Jr., PhD, Thomas Currey, MD, and Tyler Goldberg, MD