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Effect of promoting current local research activities on large monitors on the population’s interest in health-related research: a randomised controlled trial
  1. Ronny Gunnarsson1,2,
  2. Paul Cullen3,4,
  3. Clare Heal4,
  4. Jennifer Banks4
  1. 1 Primary Health care, Public Health and Community Medicine, Institute of Medicine, the Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg, Sweden
  2. 2 Research and Development Primary Health Care, Research and Development Center Södra Älvsborg, Region Västra Götaland, Boras, Sweden
  3. 3 Emergency Department, Cairns Hospital, Queensland Health, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
  4. 4 College of Medicine and Dentristry, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Ronny Gunnarsson; ronny.gunnarsson{at}


Objective The objectives of this study were threefold: to estimate people’s interest in health-related research, to understand to what extent people appreciate being actively informed about current local health-related research and to investigate whether their interest can be influenced by advertising local current health-related research using large TV monitors.

Design Randomised controlled trial using a stepped wedge design.

Setting The emergency department waiting room at two public hospitals in northern Queensland, Australia.

Participants Waiting patients and their accompanying friends and relatives in the emergency department waiting room not requiring immediate medical attention.

Interventions A TV monitor advertising local current health-related research.

Main outcome measures OR for the effect of intervention on changing the interest in health-related research compared with a control group while adjusting for gender, age and socioeconomic standard.

Results The intervention significantly increased the short-term interest in health-related research with an OR of 1.3 (1.1–1.7, p=0.0063). We also noted that being female and being older was correlated to a higher interest in health-related research

Conclusions This study found that proactive information significantly increased the general populations’ interest in health-related research. There are reasonable set up costs involved but the costs for maintaining the system were very low. Hence, it seems reasonable that research-active organisations should give much higher priority to this type of activity.

Trial registration number ACTRN12617001085369

  • public opinion
  • access to information
  • randomised controlled trial

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  • Contributors RG was solely responsible for conception, design and statistical analysis. RG was the lead in planning, writing study protocol, ethics application, conduct, interpretation of data and writing the manuscript with assistance from PC, CH and JB. RG was the lead in acquisition of data with assistance from JB.

  • Funding Funding for this project came from the College of Medicine and Dentistry at James Cook University, Australia and Cairns Hospital Foundation, Cairns, Australia.

  • Competing interests The online project database used in this study was Researchweb. RG was responsible for the development of the Researchweb system between 2000 and 2011 when it was developed within the Vastra Gotaland region (a government-run healthcare provider in the south-western part of Sweden). The Researchweb system was transferred from the Vastra Gotaland region to a limited liability company in February 2012. There have never been any financial links or remunerations between the limited liability company and RG, nor is there (or will ever be) any written or verbal agreements about any future remunerations from this company to RG.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The Townsville Hospital and Health Service Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC/15/QTHS/174).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available in a public, open access repository. The full data set is available at:

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