Implementing community health worker-patient pairings at the time of hospital discharge: A randomized control trial

Contemp Clin Trials. 2018 Nov;74:32-37. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2018.09.013. Epub 2018 Oct 4.


Background: In 2011, there were approximately 3.3 million adult 30-day all-cause hospital readmissions in the US generating $41.3 billion in hospital costs. Community health worker (CHW) care delivery is one of very few interventions demonstrated to reduce health care utilization among populations with chronic disease. While there are a number of studies demonstrating improved disease-specific outcomes with CHW interventions, studies examining the effect of CHW care delivery on 30-day readmission rates are rare.

Methods: This study is a randomized control trial designed to determine if linking hospitalized patients with chronic disease to community health workers (CHWs) can decrease 30-day readmissions. Participants were randomly assigned to receive the 30-day CHW intervention or usual care (no CHW). All study participants completed surveys at baseline and the end of the study 30 days post-discharge. The primary outcome was 30-day readmission and secondary outcomes included emergency department visits, missed appointments, and patient satisfaction.

Results: We plan to enroll 1200 hospitalized patients during a 24-month intervals. As of December 2017, 350 patients have been consented and randomly assigned to either the intervention or control arm. A number of challenges have been encountered in implementing a CHW initiative at the time of hospital discharge.

Conclusion: This trial tests the effectiveness of CHW care delivery at the time of hospital discharge in reducing 30-day readmission rates and improving outcomes among patients with chronic disease. We describe and discuss challenges in launching this CHW intervention and strategies utilized to overcome these obstacles. Clinical registration submitted 3/14/2017: Protocol ID# 2017A050810 and Clinical ID# NCT03085264 Community Health Worker Care Transitions Study (C-CAT).

Keywords: Care delivery; Care transitions; Community health worker; Hospitalization; Randomization.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aftercare / methods*
  • Aftercare / organization & administration
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Appointments and Schedules
  • Community Health Workers*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • House Calls*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Patient Discharge
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Social Support*
  • Telephone
  • Text Messaging
  • Young Adult

Associated data