Send to

Choose Destination
Fam Pract. 2017 Apr 1;34(2):219-226. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmw119.

Randomized trial to reduce emergency visits or hospital admissions using telephone coaching to complex patients.

Author information

Institut Català de la Salut, Barcelona, Spain.
Consorci d'Atenció Primària de Salut Barcelona Esquerra, Barcelona, Spain.
Medicine Department, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
Transverse group for research in primary care, IDIBAPS, Barcelona, Spain.



Comorbidity remains a matter of international interest, given growing prevalence of chronic conditions.


To evaluate the impact that adding a telephone coaching intervention by a family physician to usual care has on reducing resource consumption and improving health status, caregiver burden and quality of life among complex chronic patients (CCP) compared with usual care.


A randomized controlled trial was conducted on a random sample of CCP from three primary care teams in Barcelona. Patients were randomly allocated into intervention or control groups. Evaluations were conducted at baseline and after six-month follow-up. Intervention patients were phoned twice a month by a family physician. Both groups received usual care. Primary endpoint was change in total number of urgent visits per patient. Secondary endpoints were changes in health and mental status, quality of life and caregiver burden.


Hundred and sixty-one CCP were included. During follow-up, 9 patients died and 2 were lost. At baseline, patients' characteristics and resource consumption were similar for both groups. After six months, urgent visits per patient decreased in intervention (1.27 baseline versus 0.89 follow-up, P = 0.091) and control (1.06 baseline versus 0.86 follow-up, P = 0.422) groups, mean difference 0.18 [confidence interval (CI) 95% -0.48 to 0.84]. Intervention patients improved in the physical component of the SF-12 questionnaire, while worsening in control patients, mean difference 4.71 (CI 95% -9.03 to -0.41). Differences were not found in the rest of the endpoints.


The intervention did not reduce urgent visits among CCP neither improved patient's health.


Case management; chronic disease; continuity of care; emergency medicine; medical comorbidity; primary care

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center