Tuesday 28 February 2017

Scratch cards are the just the ticket for cancer researchers

Inclusion of a scratch card led to a modest increase in response to postal questionnaires.
Inclusion of a scratch card led to a modest increase in response to postal questionnaires.

A simple lottery ticket has proven a winner for Irish cancer researchers who need to incentivise cancer patients to respond to their surveys.

The National Cancer Registry pointed out that the number of cancer survivors is growing globally and there is extensive interest in investigating the experiences and patient-reported outcomes of those living with and after cancer.

It said pPostal surveys have been used to collect data on many patient-reported outcomes. However, non-response can pose problems including reducing the statistical power of the study and limiting the findings. So it is " crucial to identify successful, cost-effective strategies to maximise the response of cancer patients and survivors to questionnaires."

As part of the HRB-funded PiCTure (Prostate Cancer Treatment, your experience) study researchers compared two modest monetary incentives.The first involved inclusion of a €1 lottery scratch card with the postal questionnaire.

The other offered entry into a prize draw with the chance of winning a €300 voucher conditional upon questionnaire completion.

They found inclusion of a €1 lottery scratch-card resulted in a statistically significant but modest 2.6pc increase in response compared to the conditional incentive of entry into a prize draw when all responders were considered.

However, the effect was most pronounced in long-term cancer survivors ie. those who were 5 years or more beyond their diagnosis. The costs per completed questionnaire were higher in the lottery than the prize arms.

The authors said this is the first time that a lottery scratch card incentive has been shown to have a positive effect on questionnaire response among cancer survivors.

"The findings suggest that, although more expensive, to optimise response to postal questionnaires among cancer survivors, researchers might consider inclusion of a lottery scratch card."

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