An RCT of Effects of Telephone Care Management on Treatment Adherence and Clinical Outcomes Among Veterans With PTSD.
This study assessed whether adding telephone care management to usual outpatient mental health care improved treatment attendance, medication compliance, and clinical outcomes of veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In a multisite randomized controlled trial, 358 veterans were assigned to either usual outpatient mental health treatment (N=165) or usual care plus twice-a-month telephone care management (TCM) and support in the first three months of treatment (N=193). Treatment utilization and medication refills were determined from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs administrative data. PTSD, depression, quality of life, aggressive behavior, and substance use were assessed with self-report questionnaires at intake, four months, and 12 months.
Telephone care managers reached 95% of TCM participants (N=182), completing an average 5.1 of 6.0 planned telephone calls. During the three-month intervention period, TCM participants completed 43% more mental health visits (M±SD=5.9±6.8) than did those in usual care (4.1±4.2) (incident rate ratio=1.36, χ2=6.56, df=1, p<.01). Treatment visits in the nine-month follow-up period and medication refills did not differ by condition. Only 9% of participants were scheduled to receive evidence-based psychotherapy. Slopes of improvement in PTSD, depression, alcohol misuse, drug problems, aggressive behavior, and quality of life did not differ by condition or treatment attendance.
TCM improved PTSD patients' treatment attendance but not their outcomes. TCM can enhance treatment engagement, but outcomes depend on the effectiveness of the treatments that patients receive.