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OBJECTIVES: To evaluate digital, multimedia information (MMI) for its effects on trial recruitment, retention, decisions about participation and acceptability by patients, compared with printed information. DESIGN: Study Within A Trial using random cluster allocation within the Forearm Fracture Recovery in Children Evaluation (FORCE) study. SETTING: Emergency departments in 23 UK hospitals. PARTICIPANTS: 1409 children aged 4-16 years attending with a torus (buckle) fracture, and their parents/guardian. Children's mean age was 9.2 years, 41.0% were female, 77.4% were ethnically White and 90.0% spoke English as a first language. INTERVENTIONS: Participants and their parents/guardian received trial information either via multimedia, including animated videos, talking head videos and text (revised for readability and age appropriateness when needed) on tablet computer (MMI group; n=681), or printed participant information sheet (PIS group; n=728). OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary outcome was recruitment rate to FORCE. Secondary outcomes were Decision-Making Questionnaire (nine Likert items, analysed summatively and individually), three 'free text' questions (deriving subjective evaluations) and trial retention. RESULTS: MMI produced a small, not statistically significant increase in recruitment: 475 (69.8%) participants were recruited from the MMI group; 484 (66.5%) from the PIS group (OR=1.35; 95% CI 0.76 to 2.40, p=0.31). A total of 324 (23.0%) questionnaires were returned and analysed. There was no difference in total Decision-Making Questionnaire scores: adjusted mean difference 0.05 (95% CI -1.23 to 1.32, p=0.94). The MMI group was more likely to report the information 'very easy' to understand (89; 57.8% vs 67; 39.4%; Z=2.60, p=0.01) and identify information that was explained well (96; 62.3% vs 71; 41.8%). Almost all FORCE recruits were retained at the 6 weeks' timepoint and there was no difference in retention rate between the information groups: MMI (473; 99.6%); PIS (481; 99.4%). CONCLUSIONS: MMI did not increase recruitment or retention in the FORCE trial, but participants rated multimedia as easier to understand and were more likely to evaluate it positively. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN73136092 and ISRCTN13955395.

Original publication




Journal article


Bmj open

Publication Date





Hand & wrist, MEDICAL ETHICS, Paediatric A&E and ambulatory care, STATISTICS & RESEARCH METHODS, Child, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Female, Humans, Male, Multimedia, Parents, Radius Fractures, Research Design, Surveys and Questionnaires, Wrist