This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.
What is the research about?
Serious mental illness such as depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia can make it hard for a person to get the health care they need, and their health problems may not be diagnosed or may get worse. Researchers already know that some methods work well to help adults with serious mental illness stay on top of their health problems, but they don’t know if these strategies
- Help patients meet the health goals that matter most to them
- Work well in Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs), where many adults with serious mental illness get care
- Work well for patients in rural areas
This research study is comparing two strategies:
- Giving adults with serious mental illness peer support and online access to a variety of self-management tools and resources
- Having adults with serious mental illness meet with nurses who focus on health and wellness
In both cases, the participants work with case managers trained as wellness coaches.
Who can this research help?
The results of this research may help adults with serious mental illness and their healthcare providers make decisions about managing care. The results may also help people who run health centers where adults with serious mental illness get their care to enhance and improve services. Policy makers, health insurance companies, and healthcare systems may also be able to use the results.
What will the research team do?
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Center for High-Value Health Care are recruiting 1,200 adults who are insured through Medicaid, have serious mental illness, and get care at one of 11 rural CMHCs. Patients at six of the centers are using a variety of online self-management tools and resources to manage their health care. They also receive peer support. Patients at the other five centers are meeting with nurses about managing their health care.
The research team is collecting Medicaid data about what care the patients get. They are also asking the patients to fill out surveys. The research team is talking one-on-one with some patients, doctors, and nurses about what it’s like to get or provide care at the CMHCs and how the self-management tools or the extra meetings with nurses may help patients stay on top of their health needs.
This project builds on the work of a group of mental health and medical healthcare providers, health insurance plans, and patients who have been diagnosed with serious mental illness in Pennsylvania.
Research methods at a glance
Kogan JN, Schuster J, Nikolajski C, et al., Challenges encountered in the conduct of Optimal Health: A patient-centered comparative effectiveness study of interventions for adults with serious mental illness, Clinical Trials (September 2016).