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Table 7 Facilitators, barriers and suggestions regarding the trial diaries (views of patients and professionals)

From: Pelargonium sidoides root extract for the treatment of acute cough due to lower respiratory tract infection in adults: a feasibility double-blind, placebo-controlled randomised trial

Facilitators Barriers Suggestions
[24] Diary was clear and easy
[2] diary easy and straightforward
[1] pre-paid envelope
[11] found the diary to be daunting, wordy and complex
[10] stopped diary prematurely
[4] long, repetitive and daunting initially
clearer instructions to continue, even when on antibiotics or end of treatment and use big bold font
simpler and shorter layout (patients may be unwell) with fewer questions
offer yes/no answers
do not put tick boxes as people fill them inaccurately
change from 1 to 6 to 1–10 as more commonly used
could be simpler language
make the font bigger
make it more user-friendly
bind it together better
simplify and make it less busy
slim down the demographics
[16] EQ5D was easy [9] found the EQ5D difficult to rate give guidance how to complete EQ5D (e.g. 5 = you don’t have any energy to go out to the shop, 100 = you feel you can walk up a mountain)
change EQ5D with a more objective measure, e.g. frequency of coughing, amount & colour of phlegm (easier to remember and report) or ask, ‘do you feel better today than 2 days ago?’
change EQ5D to 0–10 (too much scope otherwise)
[16] Phone calls from research team were very helpful [2] missed some sections be clear and remind patients about the trial when the trial team call them
more details on early pages on symptoms
call /text /email on last day of medicine to remind them to carry on with the diaries
[12] Filling in the diary as you go was helpful   follow logical order and split questions to have each day in one page/section (DAY 1 on the top)
spread it out more
[8] Diary left in open view as reminder   make the days bolder and bigger (not in tiny boxes)
[4] Had a routine   offer choice for diaries: paper or electronically