CONNECT Trial to Use Technology

The upper Midwest has some of the highest populations of rural dwellers, the elderly, and Native Americans, which have a high risk for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) but are more likely to have limited access to rehabilitation services after acute care.

Mayo Clinic has been funded by the HHS Administration for Community Living’s “National Institute on Disability Independent Living & Rehabilitation Research” (NIDILRR) as a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Model System Center since the 1990’s.

Mayo Clinic’s with experience in assembling treatment teams in remote communities has provided clinical guidance and has reported positive results in treating brain disorders. However, there is currently no research evidence on superior treatments or technologies used to treat brain disorders in these communities.

Currently, Mayo Clinic is sponsoring a clinical trial referred to as the “CONNECT Trial” (NCT020888099) which will examine how advances in telemedicine and other technologies can be used effectively to deliver specialized brain rehabilitation resources remotely to patients and providers in the upper Midwest.

The CONNECT Trial will study whether outcomes over three years are different in the group receiving the remotely provided model of care as compared to a matched group that receives the usual care in their communities.

The CONNECT Trial is taking place in four upper Midwest States. Three health systems include Mayo Clinic, Altru Health System in North Dakota, Regional Health in South Dakota, plus two State Departments of Health in Iowa, and Minnesota.

The trial is designed to recruit 500 individuals 18 years or older who have been discharged from the hospital over a year’s time with a diagnosis of TBI. Subjects in the usual care group will receive the care they would normally receive in their communities.

Subjects in the intervention group will be remotely interviewed and evaluated by their clinical team. Their rehabilitation needs will be assessed and connections will be made to local healthcare and community providers who will then receive TBI-specific education and consultative support from Mayo’s TBI Model system Center staff.

For more information, email Allen W. Brown, MD at brown.allen@mayo,edu.

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