Impact of the mental health and dynamic referral for oncology (MHADRO) program on oncology patient outcomes, health care utilization, and health provider behaviors: A multi-site randomized control trial

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences; Department of Emergency Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Counseling | Emergency Medicine | Health Communication | Health Psychology | Health Services Administration | Mental and Social Health | Neoplasms | Oncology | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


OBJECTIVE: The MHADRO assesses psychosocial and medical needs, provides tailored feedback reports, and connects patients to mental health providers. This study examined the MHADRO's effect on patient outcomes, health care utilization, and oncology provider documentation and behaviors.

METHODS: 836 patients were part of a multi-site RCT and assessments were conducted at baseline, 2, 6 and 12 months.

RESULTS: The intervention group engaged in less emergency calls to providers. There were no differences in psychosocial outcomes at follow up assessments. Providers of patients in the intervention group were more likely to: document psychosocial symptoms and history; refer to psychosocial services; encourage support groups; seek psychological evaluations during visits. Patients who agreed to a mental health referral had decreased hospitalizations, increased mental health care interactions, and stronger ratings of counseling potential benefits. This group also reported increased psychosocial distress at all follow-up assessments.

CONCLUSION: The MHADRO may increase access to mental health care, lessen utilization, and improve providers' management of psychosocial needs, but does not appear to impact overall functioning over time.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Providers are encouraged to consider incorporating programs, like the MHADRO, into patient care as they may have the potential to impact screening and management of patients' psychosocial needs.


Cancer, Technology, Psychological distress, Psychosocial intervention, Health care utilization

DOI of Published Version



Patient Educ Couns. 2019 Nov 5. pii: S0738-3991(19)30442-2. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2019.10.006. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Patient education and counseling

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID