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The Cost-Effectiveness of Postal and Telephone Methodologies in Increasing Routine Outcome Measurement Response Rates in CAMHS

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Background: 

This small evaluation compared the cost effectiveness of different methods of questionnaire administration (General system improvements, postal reminders and telephone reminders) sent as part of the CORC protocol employed by three community CAMHS teams. Method: 

Return rates and costs of these different methods were recorded and compared with a 3-month baseline (during which questionnaires were distributed using existing systems) and following 3-month intervention period. Results: 

Comparison of return rates between baseline and intervention periods indicated that administrative improvements and a centralised mailing process increased the return rate of questionnaires by 11%. A further limited increase of 16% was achieved when a postal reminder was added, whilst an additional telephone reminder significantly increased the return rate by 34%. Telephone administration and telephone follow-up to initial postal administration is more expensive overall than postal methods alone; however, the cost per return is substantially less. An initial postal mailing plus telephone reminder is predicted to provide services with more representative data on service effectiveness and acceptability than postal methods alone. Conclusions: 

The findings of this small scale project are useful in informing the Routine Outcome Measurement (ROM) administration protocol and highlight the importance of resourcing ROM and increasing the quality of the data collected.
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Keywords: Evaluation; outcomes; questionnaires

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: The University of Sheffield, Clinical Psychology Unit, Psychology Department, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK., Email: [email protected] 2: Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, Flockton House, Union Road, Sheffield S11 9EF, UK

Publication date: 01 February 2010

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