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BMC Fam Pract. 2018 Jun 13;19(1):87. doi: 10.1186/s12875-018-0782-x.

Using the CollaboraKTion framework to report on primary care practice recruitment and data collection: costs and successes in a cross-sectional practice-based survey in British Columbia, Ontario, and Nova Scotia, Canada.

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School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, T201 2211 Westbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 2B5, Canada.
Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, University of British Columbia, 201-2206 East Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z3, Canada.
Department of Family Medicine, University of Ottawa, 201-600 Peter Morand Cresc, Ottawa, ON, K1G 5Z3, Canada.
Montfort Hospital Research Institute, 713 Montreal Rd, Ottawa, ON, K1K 0T2, Canada.
Department of Family Medicine, Dalhousie University, 5909 Veterans' Memorial Lane, Abbie J. Lane Building, Halifax, NS, B3H 2E2, Canada.



Across Canada and internationally we have poor infrastructure to regularly collect survey data from primary care practices to supplement data from chart audits and physician billings. The purpose of this work is to: 1) examine the variable costs for carrying out primary care practice-based surveys and 2) share lessons learned about the level of engagement required for recruitment of practices in primary care.


This work was part of a larger study, TRANSFORMATION that collected data from three provincial study sites in Canada. We report here on practice-based engagement. Surveys were administered to providers, organizational practice leads, and up to 20 patients from each participating provider. We used the CollaboraKTion framework to report on our recruitment and engagement strategies for the survey work. Data were derived from qualitative sources, including study team meeting minutes, memos/notes from survey administrators regarding their interactions with practice staff, and patients and stakeholder meeting minutes. Quantitative data were derived from spreadsheets tracking numbers for participant eligibility, responses, and completions and from time and cost tracking for patient survey administration.


A total of 87 practices participated in the study (n = 22 in BC; n = 26 in ON; n = 39 in NS). The first three of five CollaboraKTion activities, Contacting and Connecting, Deepening Understandings, and Adapting and Applying the Knowledge Base, and their associated processes were most pertinent to our recruitment and data collection. Practice participation rates were low but similar, averaging 36% across study sites, and completion rates were high (99%). Patient completion rates were similarly high (99%), though participation rates in BC were substantially lower than the other sites. Recruitment and data collection costs varied with the cost per practice ranging from $1503 to $1792.


A comprehensive data collection system in primary care is possible to achieve with partnerships that balance researcher, clinical, and policy maker contexts. Engaging practices as valued community members and independent business owners requires significant time, and financial and human resources. An integrated knowledge translation and exchange approach provides a foundation for continued dialogue, exchange of ideas, use of the information produced, and recognises recruitment as part of an ongoing cycle.


Engagement; Integrated knowledge translation; Patient experience; Provider; Waiting room

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