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General Practitioners' Participation in a Large, Multicountry Combined General Practitioner-Patient Survey: Recruitment Procedures and Participation Rate
Background: The participation of general practitioners (GPs) is essential in research on the performance of primary care. This paper describes the implementation of a large, multicountry study in primary care that combines a survey among GPs and a linked survey among patients that visited their practice (the QUALICOPC study). The aim is to describe the recruitment procedure and explore differences between countries in the participation rate of theGPs. Methods: Descriptive analyseswere used to document recruitment procedures and to assess hypotheses potentially explaining variation in participation rates between countries. Results: The survey was implemented in 31 European countries. GPs were mainly selected through random sampling. The actual implementation of the study differed between countries. The median participation rate was 30%. Both material (such as the payment system of GPs in a country) and immaterial influences (such as estimated survey pressure) are related to differences between countries. Conclusion: This study shows that the participation of GPs may indeed be influenced by the context of the country. The implementation of complex data collection is difficult to realize in a completely uniformway. Procedures have to be tuned to the context of the country.
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