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It is not clear how to effectively recruit healthy research volunteers.
We developed an electronic health record (EHR)-based algorithm to identify healthy subjects, who were randomly assigned to receive an invitation to join a research registry via the EHR’s patient portal, letters, or phone calls. A follow-up survey assessed contact preferences.
The EHR algorithm accurately identified 858 healthy subjects. Recruitment rates were low, but occurred more quickly via the EHR patient portal than letters or phone calls (2.7 vs. 19.3 or 10.4 d). Effort and costs per enrolled subject were lower for the EHR patient portal (3.0 vs. 17.3 or 13.6 h, $113 vs. $559 or $435). Most healthy subjects indicated a preference for contact via electronic methods.
Healthy subjects can be accurately identified from EHR data, and it is faster and more cost-effective to recruit healthy research volunteers using an EHR patient portal.
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