Research & Program Areas

The CarePartner Program

The CarePartner Program is a flexible mobile health program designed to ensure that patients with chronic health problems and their families have the support they need to avoid complications and know when they should seek medical care. Patients in the CarePartner Program receive regular, scheduled health and behavioral monitoring via automated telephone calls that include tailored advice about disease self-management. Patients’ informal caregivers or “CarePartners” (often a family member of friend) can receive a structured report automatically via e-mail or phone, based on the patient’s automated assessments, that includes information about their patient-partner’s health and what the caregiver can do to help. Urgent health problems are reported to the patient’s health care team automatically.

Dr. John Piette, CMCD Director, has implemented and evaluated the CarePartner Program in a variety of national and international settings, including programs for patients with diabetes, cancer, depression, stroke, heart failure, and other conditions.

Current & Completed CarePartner programs

Adrenal Cancer

PI: Gary Hammer, MD, PhD

A randomized trial for the management of patients with adrenal cancer was recently funded by the University of Michigan Health System. The trial will enroll 50 Adrenocortical Carcinoma (ACC) patients initiating mitotane treatment. Patients’ Interactive Voice Response (IVR) feedback from assessment calls will be sent to U-M’s specialty teams and will focus on patients’ ability to tolerate their treatment regimen. Learn more.

Cancer Chemotherapy

PI: Maria Silveira, MD

A randomized trial was launched to evaluate the effectiveness of the CarePartner Program for veterans with cancer undergoing chemotherapy. To date, 57 patient-CarePartner pairs have been enrolled from the Ann Arbor and Fargo VA Medical Centers in the 14-week program. Preliminarily, it appears patients in the CarePartner Program intervention arm are able to tolerate their chemotherapy at higher doses and for longer periods of time. Learn more.

Chronic Low Back Pain

PI: Alicia Heapy, PhD

A randomized trial for chronic low back pain (CLBP), funded by the VA Health Services Research and Development program, was conducted in Connecticut to test the efficacy of some of the automated telephonic services developed for the CarePartner Program as a strategy for delivering cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for chronic pain. Learn more.


PI: Michael Volk, MD

CMCD researchers are working with the leadership of U-M’s Cirrhosis Program to conduct a pilot study to evaluate the feasibility of automated telephone monitoring and behavior-change support for patients hospitalized with decompensated cirrhosis. Learn more.

Depression (Bolivia)

PI: John Piette, PhD

This multi-site pilot study aims to to evaluate the feasibility and impacts on self-management behaviors of the CarePartner program for adult participants with depression in Bolivia. Up to 50 patients will be recruited at local clinics in La Paz and El Alto, Bolivia, within safe and accessible areas. Learn more.

Depression in Primary Care Clinics

PI: John Piette, PhD

Blue Cross Blue Shield launched a demonstration project to disseminate the CarePartner Program in primary care practices throughout Michigan for patients being treated for depression. This version of the program includes enhancements that tailor a patient’s calling schedule, sending weekly or monthly calls to a patient depending on the severity of their symptoms. Learn more.


PI: James Aikens, PhD

A randomized trial funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases was launched to evaluate the effectiveness of the CarePartner Program for patients with diabetes. The study will enroll 356 type 2 diabetes patients. Long-term blood glucose and other diabetes outcomes will be assessed at baseline, 6 months, and 1 year. Learn more.

Diabetes (Bolivia)

PI: John Piette, PhD

One hundred sixty-five patients participated in a 12-week demonstration of automated telephone monitoring and self-management support. Weekly interactive voice response (IVR) calls were made from a platform established at a university in La Paz, under the direction of the regional health ministry. Learn more.

Diabetes (Colombia)

PI: John Piette, PhD

A pilot project in Medellin, Colombia to evaluate the short-term feasibility and impact on self-management behaviors of the CarePartner Program for patients with diabetes. The study will enroll up to 150 patients and 150 CarePartners. Blood pressure, HbA1c, and blood glucose will be taken at baseline and at follow-up. Learn more.

Diabetes, Depression, and Heart Failure in the Rural Midwest

PI: John Piette, PhD

With support from the VA Office of Rural Health, the CarePartner Program has been implemented in 16 VA Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) throughout the Midwest. This project is specifically focused on providing self-management support for rural patients with complex chronic conditions. Over 500 patients with diabetes, heart failure, or depression have enrolled in the program. Learn more.

Diabetes Self-Care Support for Spanish Speakers

PI: John Piette, PhD

The Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation (CHRT) has funded an initiative to reach out to Spanish-speaking patients who have diabetes. The purpose of the program is to create more access to language-appropriate self-care for the growing Latino population at risk for poor health care due to difficulties in communicating their health needs. Learn more.

Heart Failure

PI: John Piette, PhD

A randomized trial of the CarePartner Program for heart failure patients, funded by the National VA Health Services Research and Development program, is on-going in Cleveland, Ohio. The study completed recruitment with 372 patient-CarePartner pairs enrolled in the year-long program. Learn more.

Hypertension Management (International)

PI: John Piette, PhD

In the summer of 2011, a program to evaluate the short-term feasibility and impact of the CarePartner model for hypertension patients in semi-rural communities in Mexico and Honduras was initiated. Participants were randomized to receive written information about blood pressure control (usual care group) versus weekly automated telephone assessment and behavior change calls plus a home blood pressure monitor. Learn more.

Transitions from Hospital to Home

PI: John Piette, PhD

Dr. Piette and colleagues developed and evaluated an approach for assisting patients, their caregivers, and their clinical teams post-discharge. The study evaluated the effectiveness of the CarePartner Program for patients transitioning from the hospital to home. By giving caregivers greater information, education, and support, the program was designed to decrease the burden, stress, and frustration that frequently accompany the caregiving role. Learn more.


Cancer, Chronic Pain, Cirrhosis, Depression, Diabetes, Heart Failure, Hypertension, Informal Caregivers, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), International, Internet, Multiple Chronic Conditions, Rural, Spanish-Speaking, Telephone, U-M Health System, Veterans

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