Evaluation of an Innovative Methodology to Recruit Research Participants With Spinal Cord Injury Through Durable Medical Equipment Suppliers


      Krahn G, McCarthy M, Westwood D, Powers L. Evaluation of an innovative methodology to recruit research participants with spinal cord injury through durable medical equipment suppliers.


      To evaluate the effectiveness, strengths, and limitations of an innovative research method to recruit persons with spinal cord injury (SCI).


      A pilot study for feasibility.


      Community-based durable medical equipment suppliers (DMESs) in the states of Oregon, Washington, and New York.


      Three DMESs participated and successfully distributed surveys to 591 customers with International Classification of Disease, 9th Revision, codes reflecting SCI. Of these, 316 people completed surveys, with 270 identifying SCI among their disabling conditions.


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      The effort required to solicit recruitment assistance from DMESs, survey response rate, verification of SCI by self-report, and comparability of sample demographics to those of other SCI research samples from both the United States and other countries.


      A moderate level of effort was required to solicit recruitment assistance from DMESs. The survey had a 53% response rate, and 85% of respondents verified that they had an SCI by self-report. Sample demographics were generally similar to those of comparable research samples but with more single and unemployed persons responding and with longer duration of SCI.


      This method of recruitment has the potential to address limitations of other recruitment methods but presents its own challenges with implementation. Potential sampling bias is discussed.

      Key Words

      List of Abbreviations:

      CI (confidence interval), DMES (durable medical equipment supplier), HIPPA (Health Information Portability and Privacy Act), ICD-9 (International Classification of Disease, 9th Revision), NRRTS (National Registry of Rehabilitation Technology Suppliers), SCI (spinal cord injury)
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