Digital Recruitment and Acceptance of a Stepwise Model to Prevent Chronic Disease in the Danish Primary Care Sector: Cross-Sectional Study

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BACKGROUND: During recent years, stepwise approaches to health checks have been advanced as an alternative to general health checks. In 2013, we set up the Early Detection and Prevention project (Tidlig Opsporing og Forebyggelse, TOF) to develop a stepwise approach aimed at patients at high or moderate risk of a chronic disease. A novel feature was the use of a personal digital mailbox for recruiting participants. A personal digital mailbox is a secure digital mailbox provided by the Danish public authorities. Apart from being both safe and secure, it is a low-cost, quick, and easy way to reach Danish residents. OBJECTIVE: In this study we analyze the association between the rates of acceptance of 2 digital invitations sent to a personal digital mailbox and the sociodemographic determinants, medical treatment, and health care usage in a stepwise primary care model for the prevention of chronic diseases. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of the rates of acceptance of 2 digital invitations sent to randomly selected residents born between 1957 and 1986 and residing in 2 Danish municipalities. The outcome was acceptance of the 2 digital invitations. Statistical associations were determined by Poisson regression. Data-driven chi-square automatic interaction detection method was used to generate a decision tree analysis, predicting acceptance of the digital invitations. RESULTS: A total of 8814 patients received an invitation in their digital mailbox from 47 general practitioners. A total of 40.22% (3545/8814) accepted the first digital invitation, and 30.19 % (2661/8814) accepted both digital invitations. The rates of acceptance of both digital invitations were higher among women, older patients, patients of higher socioeconomic status, and patients not diagnosed with or being treated for diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or cardiovascular disease. CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge, this is the first study to report on the rates of acceptance of digital invitations to participate in a stepwise model for prevention of chronic diseases. More studies of digital invitations are needed to determine if the acceptance rates seen in this study should be expected from future studies as well. Similarly, more research is needed to determine whether a multimodal recruitment approach, including digital invitations to personal digital mailboxes will reach hard-to-reach subpopulations more effectively than digital invitations only.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere11658
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number1
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 17. Jan 2019



  • clinical decision support systems
  • cross-sectional studies
  • promotion of health

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