Extensive development, testing and piloting of e-coachER took place prior to the trial, with input from Professor Lucy Yardley’s LifeGuide web-support platform group at Southampton University and Professor Adrian Taylor’s group at the University of Plymouth, with other co-applicants and patient and public involvement. Difficulties were experienced with recruitment and a revised sample size calculation was considered and accepted, based on identifying differences in minutes of moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA), rather than differences in the proportion of participants achieving 150 mins of MVPA.
The project started recruiting participants in Summer 2015 and ended in March 2017. Recruitment across the sites (South West England (Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall), Birmingham and Glasgow) has now closed with 450 participants being randomised to receive, on top of usual referral to an exercise scheme, either the e-coachER intervention or no access to the web-based support. The number recruited at each of the sites was very similar.