Researchers at the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville are part of a collaborative study that aims to help improve the lives of chronically ill patients who seek care via the emergency department.
Late last year, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) approved a funding application from Donna Carden, MD, a UF professor of emergency medicine in Gainesville. The $1.8 million award is for a study titled “An Emergency Department-to-Home Intervention to Improve Quality of Life and Reduce Hospital Use.”
The study, officially beginning in April, will compare a community-based social and medical support system to conventional post-emergency department care, which typically doesn’t feature such interventional support. The study will focus on older, chronically ill patients, who often experience anxiety and uncertainty when transitioning from the emergency department to home.
In Jacksonville, UF faculty and staff from the department of emergency medicine’s research division will enroll and follow Emergency Department Medicare patients with chronic medical conditions. Those conditions include cardiovascular, pulmonary and renal diseases, among many others.
Patients at UF Health Jacksonville will be among the 1,200 patients recruited on both UF Health campuses to participate in the study. Half of the patients will receive the interventional support; the other half will not. The selections will be random.
The support will consist of periodic home visits with patients to discuss medications, diet, upcoming medical appointments and other pertinent matters. Elder Source, the Area Agency on Aging for Northeast Florida, will facilitate the transitional-care program.
The researchers will later use personal interviews with patients and data on ED visits and hospital admissions to gauge the effectiveness of the intervention.
Phyllis Hendry, MD, will lead the research efforts in Jacksonville. She is an associate professor and assistant chair for research in the department of emergency medicine at the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville. Carden is the overall lead investigator for the project.
“Our entire research team is excited and honored that PCORI has given us the opportunity to test our theory that a community-based intervention will contribute to understanding how clinicians and the care delivery systems they work in can help patients make the best decisions about their health and health care,” Carden said.
The study is projected to last three years. Of the total award amount, $200,000 is budgeted for the UF Health Jacksonville campus.
Hendry said she is excited about the project.
“The funding will give me the opportunity to continue my past collaboration with Dr. Carden and other organizations such as Elder Source in the areas of health literacy and patient-centered communication related to ED-to-home transitions to care,” she said.
Other collaborators in the study are the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of North Carolina Wilmington School of Nursing, Florida Medical Quality Assurance Inc. and the Area Agency on Aging in Gainesville.
This study is one of 82 proposals approved in December by PCORI, which funds research that gives patients a better understanding of available prevention, treatment and care options. It’s one of eight such studies in Florida and the first at UF. Only 11 percent of applicants were selected for funding by PCORI to advance the field of patient-centered research.