Web-based information guide to promote the application and utilization of medical rehabilitation - a randomized controlled trial



medical rehabilitation, application, web-based information, randomized controlled trial, administrative data


Background: Web-based applications are potential mediums to inform about rehabilitation services. The effectiveness of a web-based intervention to support rehabilitation claims was tested in a randomized controlled trial (German Clinical Trials Register: DRKS00005658).

Methods: A total of 16,000 individuals were asked to complete a survey. Respondents were randomly allocated to an intervention group (IG) or a control group (CG). Participants in the CG received a letter containing general information about medical rehabilitation, while participants in the IG were also advised to use the web-based intervention. The primary outcome was the proportion of applied and used medical rehabilitation services after 1 year as extracted from administrative data records. Secondary outcomes were assessed through another questionnaire.

Results: Participants (mean age: 51.4 years; 53% women) were randomly assigned to an IG (n = 3110) or CG (n = 3111). Data on primary outcomes were available for 1669 participants from the IG and 1655 participants from the CG. The rate of applied and used rehabilitation services did not differ between the IG and CG. No differences were found in any of the secondary outcomes.

Conclusion: Providing information on the availability of medical rehabilitation through a postal letter does not mean that this information is used.