CommunityRx: A Real-World Controlled Clinical Trial of a Scalable, Low-Intensity Community Resource Referral Intervention

Am J Public Health. 2019 Apr;109(4):600-606. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2018.304905. Epub 2019 Feb 21.


Objectives: To test the effect of CommunityRx, a scalable, low-intensity intervention that matches patients to community resources, on mental health-related quality of life (HRQOL) (primary outcome), physical HRQOL, and confidence in finding resources.

Methods: A real-world trial assigned publicly insured residents of Chicago, Illinois, aged 45 to 74 years to an intervention (n = 209) or control (n = 202) group by alternating calendar week, December 2015 to August 2016. Intervention group participants received usual care and an electronic medical record-generated, personalized list of community resources. Surveys (baseline, 1-week, 1- and 3-months) measured HRQOL and confidence in finding community resources to manage health.

Results: At 3 months, there was no difference between groups in mental (-1.03; 95% confidence interval [CI] = -3.02, 0.96) or physical HRQOL (0.59; 95% CI = -0.98, 2.16). Confidence in finding resources was higher in the intervention group (odds ratio = 2.08; 95% CI = 1.18, 3.63); the effect increased at each successive time point. Among intervention group participants, 65% recalled receiving the intervention; 48% shared community resource information with others.

Conclusions: CommunityRx did not increase HRQOL, but its positive effect on confidence in finding resources for self-care suggests that this low-intensity intervention may have a role in population health promotion.

Trial registration: Identifier: NCT02435511.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Chicago
  • Community Health Centers / organization & administration*
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Health
  • Poverty
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Referral and Consultation*

Associated data