Enhancing Community Health Through Patient Navigation, Advocacy and Social Support (ENCOMPASS)

  • days left to enroll
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Calgary
Updated on 3 June 2022
chronic disease
heart failure
systolic blood pressure
heart disease
glomerular filtration rate
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
pulmonary disease
congestive heart failure
obstructive lung disease


Some patients who have multiple long-term health conditions have significant challenges accessing needed services despite available primary care and social services resources. Patient navigation programs may help those with complex health conditions improve their care and outcomes and if delivered by community health navigators (CHNs) who have close community ties, these programs have the potential to reduce barriers to care and increase access to coordinated, person-centred care. The ENCOMPASS program aims to improve the care and health outcomes for high-risk patients by linking patients with chronic disease with a CHN to help them navigate the health system, facilitate communication between patients and providers, improve patients' understanding of their conditions and treatment plans, and support patients in their self-management. In Canada, patient navigation programs have not been well studied or broadly implemented in patients with chronic disease, making a comprehensive evaluation of ENCOMPASS important. This program has great potential to improve care for patients with chronic diseases in primary care.


Although non-communicable chronic disease is the leading cause of death in Canada, many patients with chronic diseases do not receive guideline-recommended therapy for a variety of reasons. Lack of awareness of publicly funded programs, financial constraints, personal circumstances, language and cultural barriers make it challenging for patients to follow recommendations. ENCOMPASS is a patient navigation intervention, delivered by community health navigators (CHNs), that will improve patient-centred care and outcomes by: helping patients navigate the health system, facilitating communication between patients and providers, improving patient understanding of their conditions and treatment plans, connecting patients with community resources and supporting patient self-management.

The ENCOMPASS intervention is based on an extensive literature review, and was refined in consultation with patients, operational partners, front-line care providers, and local and provincial policy makers. A pilot study has informed implementation, recruitment and data collection methods. This study will implement and test the intervention using a pragmatic cluster-randomized trial with a concurrent qualitative study. The objectives of this study are to determine the effectiveness of patient navigation, delivered by CHNs, in patients with multiple chronic diseases on: a) emergency department visits and hospital admissions over 12 months (primary outcome), b) patient-reported outcome and experience measures, and c) disease-specific clinical outcomes, compared with usual care. Additional objectives focus on practical aspects including understanding the experience of care from the patient and CHN perspective and factors influencing the intervention's ability to improve care and outcomes.

The effectiveness of ENCOMPASS will be studied using a parallel, two-arm, pragmatic, wait-list control, cluster-randomized trial (cRCT) in 16 clusters, with a target size of 1600 patients with chronic disease. If additional funding is realized the trial will be expanded to include additional clusters. Primary care practices with ~5 full-time physicians will be the cluster units and small practices of 2-3 physicians may be combined into one cluster. Half of the clusters will be randomized to receive the program immediately (Early Phase clusters), while the other half will be required to wait 6 months (Late Phase clusters). Randomization will be concealed, computer-generated and stratified by practice size. Although patients and providers cannot be blinded to the intervention, end-point evaluation will be blinded. The primary outcome will be assessed using administrative health data, eliminating risk of assessor bias. Control patients will receive usual care until the intervention is implemented in their clinic, at which time they will be eligible for the ENCOMPASS program.

Patients will meet with a research assistant at baseline, 6 and 12 months, with an additional 18 month follow-up for control patients, to assess clinical data, including weight, blood pressure, and patient-reported measures. Other endpoints (i.e., through administrative and laboratory data) will be assessed at 6, 12, and 24 months. Once implemented, the ENCOMPASS program will remain available to clinic patients until the end of the program funding period, which may be extended subject to budget decisions and preliminary results. A concurrent qualitative study will provide contextual information and will be used to make program refinements in the Late Phase, the impacts of which will be explored in a comparative analysis.

Condition Hypertension, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Chronic Kidney Diseases, Ischemic Heart Disease, Congestive Heart Failure, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Asthma
Treatment Community Health Worker Intervention, ENCOMPASS Intervention
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03077386
SponsorUniversity of Calgary
Last Modified on3 June 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

≥ 18 years of age with two or more of the following
Poorly controlled hypertension (most recent systolic blood pressure > 160 mmHg)
Poorly controlled diabetes (A1C > 9% on at least one occasion within the past year)
Stage 3b or greater chronic kidney disease (estimated glomerular filtration rate < 45 mL/min/1.73m2 in past year)
Established ischemic heart disease (at least one instance of a physician billing diagnosis with a relevant International Classification of Diseases, 9th Edition [ICD-9] code recorded in electronic medical record (EMR), or known to health care team)
Congestive heart failure (at least one instance of a physician billing diagnosis with a relevant ICD-9 code recorded in EMR, or known to health care team)
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease OR Asthma with at least two visits in the past year (at least 2 instances of a physician billing diagnosis with a relevant ICD-9 code, or known to health care team)

Exclusion Criteria

patient unable to provide informed consent
patient residing in a long-term care facility
physician discretion
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