Background: Insomnia is a prevalent and debilitating disorder commonly managed by family physicians. Insomnia guidelines recommend cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTi) as the ‘first-line’ treatment. However, family physicians report limited time, knowledge, access, support, and referral options to manage patients with CBTi. Consequently, many patients with insomnia are prescribed potentially harmful and addictive sedative-hypnotic medicines (e.g. benzodiazepines). Family physicians require an insomnia management pathway that is specifically tailored to the guideline-recommendations, time demands, and capacity of family practice.
Methods: This mixed-methods implementation trial will test the feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness of a comprehensive digital insomnia management pathway in family practice. This novel pathway includes digital recruitment of family physicians, automatic identification of patients whose electronic medical records contain recent sedative-hypnotic prescriptions using a software management pathway and real-time notifications prompting physicians to refer patients to a well-established digital CBTi program. At least 10 family physicians and 375 patients with insomnia will be recruited. Physicians will be provided with an eBook to guide gradual sedative-hypnotic withdrawal. Feasibility and acceptability will be assessed from the perspective of patients and physicians. Effectiveness will be determined by co-primary outcomes: cessation of sedative-hypnotic use, and improvement in self-reported insomnia symptoms from baseline to 12-month follow-up. Analysis of trends in costs, cost-effectiveness and cost-utility analyses will be conducted from a societal perspective.
Results and discussion: This implementation trial will pave the way for future scaling-up of this insomnia management pathway to improve access to CBTi and reduce reliance on sedative-hypnotic medicines in family practice.
Trial Registration: This trial was prospectively registered on the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) (ACTRN12619001539123).
- Chronic insomnia
- Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia
- Family practice
- General practice
- Primary care