The CONNECT Trial

Lack of access to specialized traumatic brain injury (TBI) care is a common need identified by individuals hospitalized for TBI. Explosive advances in communication technology have brought telemedicine to the forefront of health care.

The CONNECT Trial aims to remotely connect groups and individuals to Mayo Clinic traumatic brain injury rehabilitation specialists and to each other. This is done through using traditional methods (phone and mail) and other communication technology (Internet based, email, smartphone, text, social media and Skype).

Those groups joined together by The CONNECT Trial include:

  • Individuals recently hospitalized with traumatic brain injury
  • Their families
  • Local health care and other providers (for example, primary care providers and other doctors, psychologists, therapists, social service providers and job counselors)

Mayo Clinic's Traumatic Brain Injury Model System Program is testing the extent to which partnership with local providers for TBI-related assessment and treatment is feasible, effective and satisfying for everyone involved. Assessment is also being done to provide TBI-specific education, consultation on management of common problems, and coordination of care to promote recovery and the return to work, school and family life.

To that end, Mayo Clinic's TBI Model System Program is conducting this first-of-its-kind study in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota. Possible research subjects will be identified through collaboration with the health departments in Minnesota and Iowa, Sanford Health in North Dakota and Regional Health in South Dakota.

The team is especially interested in learning more about the possible benefit of this approach for people who live in rural areas, the elderly and Native Americans, since these populations are at greater risk of traumatic brain injury and may be more isolated from specialized services.

Participants will be assigned to one of two groups — either the remote care group or to another group that is followed but receives the usual care available in their community. Individuals in both groups will complete select questionnaires, be contacted regularly to monitor their recovery and use of health care and other services, and will receive research payment for their time in the study.

The long-term outcome of this study is intended to reduce barriers to accessing specialized traumatic brain injury rehabilitation care faced by individuals and their families.

Mayo Clinic's Traumatic Brain Injury Model System Program is proud to be partnering with the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation and Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media on this project.