Protocol for the randomised control trial

The eHealth@hospital-2-home-project has published the protocol for the randomised control trial of the nurse-assisted eHealth intervention for patients with heart failure and colorectal cancer post-hospital discharge.

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Portrett av Marianne Storm
Professor Marianne Storm

Professor Marianne Storm (professor of health sciences at the Department of Public Health at the University of Stavanger, Norway, and an affiliated professor at Molde University College and Stavanger University Hospital) has lead on the publication of the protocol for the eHealth@Hospital-2-Home randomised control trial (RCT).

Marianne is a trained nurse who majored in health promotion and health psychology from the University of Bergen and gained her Ph.D. from the University of Stavanger. Currently, she leads the interprofessional research group PARTAKE: Participation in School, Working Life, and Treatment.  Her research interest focuses on health promotion, participation and involvement of older adults and people with mental illness in their care, integration, and coordination of health services, and the use of digital technologies in healthcare.  She also works on the eHealth@Hospital-2-Home project and is leading the third work package of this project (the RCT).

Research protocols are essential to publish as they allow researchers and clinicians to assess the plan for a research study

Marianne Storm , professor at the University of Stavanger

A protocol is the plan for the research project.  Our RCT protocol describes all elements and content of the nurse-assisted eHealth@hospital-2-home intervention. Together with all the steps to be carried out to examine the effect of the intervention. Publishing a protocol is an essential step in the research process as it promotes transparency and allows those who read it to assess the plan for the research project. A protocol also provides a basis for testing and repeating the study - i.e., other researchers can do a similar study based on our protocol. Thus, it will be possible to assess results across studies with the same patient groups.

After the feasibility project, the next step was to design a randomized control trial (RCT) to test the eHealth intervention that was created. The RCT was informed by the feasibility study of data obtained from patient interviews and interviews with the nurse navigators delivering the intervention (paper coming soon). We also documented the process in meeting minutes from the project group’s weekly meetings. This comprehensive data was crucial for evaluating recruitment efforts and identifying areas that required modifications and refinement.

The focus of the eHealth@hospital-2-home intervention is to support those with chronic illnesses during the transition from hospital to home. We chose to test the intervention in those with heart failure and colorectal cancer. While the illness pathologies and trajectories are different, both these groups of individuals are prone to high rates of comorbidities, readmission to the hospital, and complex healthcare needs. Similarly, they are both required to engage in complex and demanding self-care tasks and are often unprepared to successfully self-manage their illness at home. The literature reviews (Colorectal Cancer review and the Heart Failure review) conducted suggest that eHealth intervention may be a beneficial tool to increase their engagement with self-care.

In our RCT we will ask people with colorectal cancer and heart failure to participate in a research project where they will have an equal chance of receiving the newly designed eHealth intervention or continuing to receive current standard care for their respective illnesses. Regardless of which group participants are randomly allocated, they will be asked to complete a series of questionnaires at three time points. They also give us permission to examine their electronic health records to capture healthcare interactions (e.g., hospital admissions, visits to their GP, etc.). Those allocated to the intervention group will use the nurse assisted intervention, “eHealth@Hospital-2-Home” for 6 weeks. They will also be asked to participate in an interview about their experiences in using the intervention and complete a satisfaction survey.

Read more details here: Evaluation of the nurse-assisted eHealth intervention ‘eHealth@Hospital-2-Home’ on self-care by patients with heart failure and colorectal cancer post-hospital discharge: protocol for a randomised controlled trial (BMC Health Services Research).

We hope that this RCT will help to inform a generic framework for a chronic illness eHealth intervention following a hospital discharge that will ease the transition for patients, increasing their self-care efficacy.

What are the next steps for this line of research/inquiry?

The RCT is currently underway, and both collaborating hospitals are actively recruiting. To keep up to date with the project and its developments, follow us on LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter).