Background: A large proportion of the Danish population consumes more than the officially recommended weekly amount of alcohol. Untreated alcohol use disorders lead to frequent contacts with the health care system and can be associated with considerable human and societal costs. However, only a small share of those with alcohol use disorders receives treatment. A referral model to ensure treatment for alcohol dependent patients after discharge is needed. This study evaluates the i) cost-effectiveness ii) efficacy and iii) overall impact on societal costs of the proposed referral model - The Relay Model.
Method/design: The study is a single-blind pragmatic randomized controlled trial including patients admitted to the hospital. The study group (n = 500) will receive an intervention, and the control group (n = 500) will be referred to treatment by usual procedures. All patients complete a lifestyle questionnaire with the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test embedded as a case identification strategy. The primary outcome of the study will be health care expenditures 12 months after discharge. The secondary outcome will be the percentage of the target group, who 30 days after discharge, reports at the alcohol treatment clinics. In order to analyse both outcomes, difference-in-difference models will be used.
Discussion: We expect to establish evidence as to whether The Relay Model is either cost-neutral or cost-effective, compared to referral by usual procedures.
Trial registration: https://register.clinicaltrials.gov/by identifier: RESCueH_Relay NCT02188043 Project Relay Model for Recruiting Alcohol Dependent Patients in General Hospitals (TRN Registration: 07/09/2014).
Keywords: Alcohol Use Disorder; Health economics; Health promotion; Recruitment; Register study.