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Preliminary findings show ‘count me in’ is making research more inclusive at Oxford Health

Oxford Health’s innovative ‘count me in’ pilot project is having a positive effect on research recruitment according to a letter published in the journal Evidence Based Mental Health.

‘Count me in’ was launched in August 2021 after studies showed that asking clinical staff to collect research contact consent was resulting in a low uptake from patients, and that both staff and patients favoured an approach that allowed all patients to be contacted about relevant research unless they had opted out.

Early signs are that ‘count me in’ is having a very positive impact on the way research participants are recruited at Oxford Health. In the first three months of the project more than 8000 patients became contactable – a 400% increase on the previous number. To date 234 of those patients have been contacted about specific research studies with almost 20% going on to consent to take part.

The age, gender and ethnicity of patients contacted are being monitored as part of the pilot scheme and early evidence suggests that ‘count me in’ is supporting more inclusive research recruitment. The figures also show that there have not been high numbers of opt outs with only 120 patients requesting this.

Dr Cathy Henshall, who is leading on the project said:

“The early signs from this pilot project are extremely encouraging. Evidence has shown that research-active clinical services have lower mortality rates and produce higher quality care outcomes. ‘Count me in’ is helping to address the challenges in recruiting participants in the NHS and bringing the opportunity to participate in research to a wider number of diagnostic groups in the trust’s caseload.”

A full evaluation of the project will take place at the end of the 12-month pilot phase. It is hoped that ‘count me in’ will ultimately be taken up by many other NHS Trusts, embedding research within routine patient care and promoting inclusivity by ensuring that research opportunities are offered to all patients.

Find out more about ‘count me in’ including details on how to opt out here. 

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