A randomized trial of opinion leader endorsement in a survey of orthopaedic surgeons: Effect on primary response rates

Mohit Bhandari, P. J. Devereaux, Marc F. Swiontkowski, Emil H. Schemitsch, Ketan Shankardass, Sheila Sprague, Gordon H. Guyatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background. Opinion leaders have been shown to have significant influence on the practice of health professionals and patient outcomes. Methods. Using focus groups, key informants, and sampling to redundancy techniques, we developed a questionnaire of surgeons' preferences in the treatment of tibial shaft fractures. Twenty-two well-respected and widely known orthopaedic traumatologists endorsed the questionnaire. We randomized 395 surgeon members of the Orthopaedic Trauma Association to receive either a questionnaire that included a letter informing them of the opinion leaders' endorsement, or a questionnaire without the endorsement. Results. Surgeons who received the letter of endorsement had a significantly lower response rate at 2, 4, and 8 weeks. The absolute difference in response rates was 7.8% (4.6% versus 12.4%, P < 0.05) at 2 weeks, 13.1% at 4 weeks (28.6% versus 41.7% P < 0.02), and 12.3% at 8 weeks (47.5% versus 59.8% P = 0.02). Conclusions. The addition of a letter listing expert surgeons who endorse the survey lead to significantly lower primary response rates. Those interested in influencing physician responses cannot always assume a positive effect from endorsement by opinion leaders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)634-636
Number of pages3
JournalInternational journal of epidemiology
Volume32
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2003

Keywords

  • Fracture
  • Opinion leader
  • Orthopaedic surgery
  • Response rates
  • Survey

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