Objectives: This report describes the efficacy and utility of recruiting older individuals by mail to participate in research on cognitive health and aging using Electronic Health Records (EHR). Methods: Individuals age 65 or older identified by EHR in the Mount Sinai Health System as likely to have Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) were sent a general recruitment letter (N=12,951). A comparison group of individuals with comparable age and matched for gender also received the letter (N=3,001). Results: Of the 15,952 individuals who received the mailing, 953 (6.0%) responded. 215 (1.3%) declined further contact. Overall rate of expression of interest was 4.6%. Of the 738 individuals who responded positively to further contact, 321 indicated preference for further contact by telephone. Follow-up of these individuals yielded 30 enrollments (0.2% of 15,952). No differences in response rate were noted between MCI and comparison groups, but the comparison group yielded higher enrollment. 6 individuals who were not the intended recipients of mailing but nevertheless contacted our study were also enrolled. Conclusions: Mailings to individuals identified through a trusted source, such as a medical center from which they have received clinical care, may be a viable means of reaching individuals within this age group as this effort yielded a low rejection rate. However, EHR information did not enhance study enrollment. Implications for improving recruitment are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-298
Number of pages7
JournalThe journal of prevention of Alzheimer's disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Recruitment methods
  • cognitive health
  • electronic health records
  • mild cognitive impairment


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