Digital CBTI hubs as a treatment augmentation strategy in military clinics: study protocol for a pragmatic randomized clinical trial

Anne Germain, Megan Wolfson, Matthew S. Brock, Brian O’Reilly, Hunter Hearn, Shelley Knowles, Vincent Mysliwiec, Meredith L. Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Chronic insomnia is the most prevalent sleep disorder among military service members, and it compromises readiness, performance, and physical and mental health. Cognitive behavioral treatment for insomnia (CBTI) is the standard of care for the treatment of insomnia recommended by the VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and the American College of Physicians. CBTI is highly effective but has limited scalability. It is often unavailable in clinical settings where service members receive sleep care. Digital technologies offer unique opportunities to scale and broaden the geographic reach of CBTI services and support increased patient access and engagement in behavioral sleep care. This study aims to evaluate the impact and acceptability of digital CBTI hubs to augment military treatment facilities’ capabilities in behavioral sleep medicine. Methods: This is a multi-site, non-inferiority randomized clinical trial designed to compare the effects of in-person (face-to-face or virtual) insomnia care as usual at three military sleep clinics versus CBTI delivered remotely and asynchronously through digital CBTI hubs. Digital CBTI hubs are led by licensed, certified clinicians who use NOCTEM’s® evidence-based clinical decision support platform COAST™ (Clinician Operated Assistive Sleep Technology). Changes in insomnia severity and daytime symptoms of depression and anxiety will be compared at baseline, at 6–8 weeks, and at 3-month follow-up. Patient satisfaction with insomnia care as usual versus digital CBTI hubs will also be examined. We hypothesize that digital CBTI hubs will be non-inferior to insomnia care as usual for improvements in insomnia and daytime symptoms as well as patient satisfaction with insomnia care. Discussion: Digital technology has a high potential to scale CBTI accessibility and delivery options required to meet the insomnia care needs of military service members. Digital CBTI hubs using COAST offer a novel approach to broaden service members’ access to CBTI and to serve as an augmentation strategy for existing sleep services at military treatment facilities. The pragmatic approach leveraging technology in this trial has the potential to rapidly inform clinical practice within the Defense Health Agency as well as other healthcare systems. Trial registration: NCT05490550. Registered on 14 July 2023.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number648
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Chronic insomnia
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTI)
  • Digital CTBI hubs
  • Digital technology
  • Military
  • Military treatment facility
  • Veteran

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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