Automated digital counselling with social network support as a novel intervention for patients with heart failure: protocol for randomised controlled trial

Peiris R. G., Ross H., Chan C. T., Poon S., Auguste B. L., Rac V. E., ...More

BMJ Open, vol.12, no.9, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 12 Issue: 9
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-059635
  • Journal Name: BMJ Open
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: Clinical trials, Heart failure, Quality in health care, Telemedicine, World Wide Web technology
  • TED University Affiliated: No


©Introduction Heart failure (HF) symptoms improve through self-care, for which adherence remains low among patients despite the provision of education for these behaviours by clinical teams. Open Access Digital Community Promoting Self-Care, Peer Support and Health Literacy (ODYSSEE-vCHAT) combines automated digital counselling with social network support to improve mortality and morbidity, engagement with self-care materials, and health-related quality of life. Methods and analysis Use of ODYSSEE-vCHAT via Internet-connected personal computer by 162 HF patients will be compared with a control condition over 22 months. The primary outcome is a composite index score of all-cause mortality, all-cause emergency department visits, and HF-related hospitalisation at trial completion. Secondary outcomes include individual components of the composite index, engagement with self-care materials, and patient-reported measures of physical and psychosocial well-being, disease management, health literacy, and substance use. Patients are recruited from tertiary care hospitals in Toronto, Canada and randomised on a 1:1 ratio to both arms of the trial. Online assessments occur at baseline (t=0), months 4, 8 and 12, and trial completion. Ordinal logistic regression analyses and generalised linear models will evaluate primary and secondary outcomes. Ethics and dissemination The trial has been approved by the research ethics boards at the University Health Network (20-5960), Sunnybrook Hospital (5117), and Mount Sinai Hospital (21-022-E). Informed consent of eligible patients occurs in person or online. Findings will be shared with key stakeholders and the public. Results will allow for the preparation of a Canada-wide phase III trial to evaluate the efficacy of ODYSSEE-vCHAT in improving clinical outcomes and raising the standard of outpatient care. Trial registration number NCT04966104.