A digital intake approach in specialized mental health care: study protocol of a cluster randomised controlled trial

Margot J. Metz*, Iman Elfeddali, David G. H. Krol, Marjolein A. Veerbeek, Edwin de Beurs, Aartjan T. F. Beekman, Christina M. van der Feltz-Cornelis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Enhancing patient participation is becoming increasingly important in mental health care as patients use to have a dependent, inactive role and nonadherence to treatment is a regular problem. Research shows promising results of initiatives stimulating patient participation in partnership with their clinicians. However, few initiatives targeting both patients' and clinicians' behaviour have been evaluated in randomised trials (RCT). Therefore, in GGz Breburg, a specialized mental health institution, a digital intake approach was developed aimed at exploring treatment needs, expectations and preferences of patients intended to prepare patients for the intake consultations. Subsequently, patients and clinicians discuss this information during intake consultations and make shared decisions about options in treatment. The aim of this trial is to test the efficacy of this new digital intake approach facilitated by Routine Outcome Monitoring (ROM), peer support and training of clinicians as compared to the intake as usual. The primary outcome is decisional conflict about choices in treatment. Secondary outcomes focus on patient participation, shared decision making, working alliance, adherence to treatment and clinical outcomes.

Methods: This article presents the study protocol of a cluster-randomised controlled trial in four outpatient departments for adults with depression, anxiety and personality disorders, working in two different regions. Randomisation is done between two similar intake-teams within each department. In the four intervention teams the new intake approach is implemented. The four control teams apply the intake as usual and will implement the new approach after the completion of the study. In total 176 patients are projected to participate in the study. Data collection will be at baseline, and at two weeks and two months after the intake.

Discussion: This study will potentially demonstrate the efficacy of the new digital intake approach in mental health care in terms of the primary outcome the degree of decisional conflict about choices in treatment. The findings of this study may contribute to the roll out of such eHealth initiatives fostering patient involvement in decision making about their treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number86
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2017


  • Patient participation
  • Patient preference
  • Adherence to treatment
  • eHealth
  • Routine Outcome Monitoring
  • Shared Decision Making
  • Decisional conflict
  • Peer support
  • Intake
  • Cluster randomised controlled trial
  • Mental health care
  • Depressive disorder
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Personality disorder


Dive into the research topics of 'A digital intake approach in specialized mental health care: study protocol of a cluster randomised controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this