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Case study: CRN takes novel approach in saying 'Thank You' to research participants

CRN takes novel approach in saying 'Thank You' to research participants

Earlier this year the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN): North West Coast published its Research Delivery Strategy (2020-23) which outlined an ambitious vision to make research an integral part of healthcare for all. To achieve this vision, it is essential that the Network listens to those who volunteer to take part in research. Their insight will help in understanding what works well, where improvements can be made and how to expand the Network's reach.

The Participant Research in Experience Survey (PRES) is the CRN's listening tool to help achieve this objective and is an essential step towards the goal of providing more research opportunities to those living in the North West Coast region.

Reflecting upon the CRN: North West Coast’s journey as the Network responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a good opportunity to help trial participants to feel more valued for their role in participating in research during these times, while also looking at ways in which more feedback could be collected for PRES.

Thank you cards

The CRN: North West Coast Communications team considered different methods of distributing the PRES survey which would result in trial participants feeling more valued. The team felt the most effective way would be to develop PRES Thank You cards.

Greg Woodley, Communication Manager and Regional Lead at CRN North West Coast:

“We really wanted a positive way to show our appreciation to each trial participant and introduce a routine way of formally thanking every participant taking part in our research studies and in particular to those who had taken part in priority COVID-19 treatment and vaccine trials whilst offering them opportunity to provide feedback on their experience of taking part.”

Thank You cards were created in-house by the Communications team, then the design was developed into cards through a local design agency. A range of different images were used to identify key sites within the region and three different cards were created all the containing a thank you message.

Within each Thank You card, the PRES QR code was included allowing each participant to scan the code using their smartphone and complete the survey in a matter of minutes. For those who may not have had access to the QR code, the website link was included, ensuring each trial participant had the option to provide feedback.

Increase in PRES responses

Shortly after the first distribution of cards to study teams in the region, the Communications team saw a call for more cards to be printed as study teams said they had received a lot of positive feedback from trial participants; and felt it was a nice gesture to give to each participant during their visit. They also noticed a significant rise in the number of PRES responses, resulting in CRN: North West Coast beating last year’s response rate of 870 PRES responses, with a total of 1,296 responses from research participants.

Due to the success of the PRES Thank You cards, the Network has incorporated the cards into its Patient Engagement Strategy and are designing generic PRES Thank You cards so all research participants receive a card.

Clare Donnelly, Communications Officer at CRN: North West Coast said:
“We would like to thank everyone who took the time to respond and give feedback on their research experience. Your feedback changes the future of research delivery and the experience of future participants.”