Effect of a Virtual Patient Navigation Program on Behavioral Health Admissions in the Emergency Department: A Randomized Clinical Trial
Anderson, William E
Balfour, Margaret E
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Dept Psychiat
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherAMER MEDICAL ASSOC
CitationRoberge J, McWilliams A, Zhao J, et al. Effect of a Virtual Patient Navigation Program on Behavioral Health Admissions in the Emergency Department: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(1):e1919954. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.19954
JournalJAMA NETWORK OPEN
RightsCopyright © 2020 Roberge J et al. JAMA Network Open. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC-BY License.
Collection InformationThis item from the UA Faculty Publications collection is made available by the University of Arizona with support from the University of Arizona Libraries. If you have questions, please contact us at email@example.com.
AbstractThis randomized clinical trial assesses whether the availability of a 45-day behavioral health-virtual patient navigation program decreases hospitalization among adult patients presenting to the emergency department with a behavioral health crisis or need. Importance The number of patients presenting to emergency departments (EDs) for psychiatric care continues to increase. Psychiatrists often make a conservative recommendation to admit patients because robust outpatient services for close follow-up are lacking. Objective To assess whether the availability of a 45-day behavioral health-virtual patient navigation program decreases hospitalization among patients presenting to the ED with a behavioral health crisis or need. Design, Setting, and Participants This randomized clinical trial enrolled 637 patients who presented to 6 EDs spanning urban and suburban locations within a large integrated health care system in North Carolina from June 12, 2017, through February 14, 2018; patients were followed up for up to 45 days. Eligible patients were aged 18 years or older, with a behavioral health crisis and a completed telepsychiatric ED consultation. The availability of the behavioral health-virtual patient navigation intervention was randomly allocated to specific days (Monday through Friday from 7 am to 7 pm) so that, in a 2-week block, there were 5 intervention days and 5 usual care days; 323 patients presented on days when the program was offered, and 314 presented on usual care days. Data analysis was performed from March 7 through June 13, 2018, using an intention-to-treat approach. Interventions The behavioral health-virtual patient navigation program included video contact with a patient while in the ED and telephonic outreach 24 to 72 hours after discharge and then at least weekly for up to 45 days. Main Outcomes and Measures The primary outcome was the conversion of an ED encounter to hospital admission. Secondary outcomes included 45-day follow-up encounters with a self-harm diagnosis and postdischarge acute care use. Results Among 637 participants, 358 (56.2%) were men, and the mean (SD) age was 39.7 (16.6) years. The conversion rates were 55.1% (178 of 323) in the intervention group vs 63.1% (198 of 314) in the usual care group (odds ratio, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.54-1.02; P = .06). The percentage of patient encounters with follow-up encounters having a self-harm diagnosis was significantly lower in the intervention group compared with the usual care group (36.8% [119 of 323] vs 45.5% [143 of 314]; P = .03). Conclusions and Relevance Although the primary result did not reach statistical significance, there is a strong signal of potential positive benefit in an area that lacks evidence, suggesting that there should be additional investment and inquiry into virtual behavioral health programs. Question Does offering virtual patient navigation reduce admission rates for patients presenting to the emergency department with a behavioral health crisis? Findings In this randomized clinical trial, there were fewer admissions on days when the navigation program was available (55.1%) vs on days with usual care (63.1%), although the difference was not statistically significant. Significantly fewer patients who used the navigation program had a follow-up encounter involving a self-harm diagnosis within 45 days compared with patients who received usual care (36.8% vs 45.5%). Meaning Although the primary result did not reach statistical significance, there is a strong signal of potential positive benefit in an area that lacks evidence, suggesting that there should be additional investment and inquiry into this area.
NoteOpen access journal
VersionFinal published version