Improving depression care: barriers, solutions, and research needs

J Fam Pract. 2001 Jun;50(6):E1.


Potential solutions for barriers to improved organization of care of depressive illness were identified. These included (1) aligning efforts to improve depression care with broader strategies for improving care of other chronic conditions; (2) increasing the availability of depression case management services in primary care; (3) developing registries and reminder systems to ensure active follow-up of depressed patients; (4) achieving agreement on how depression outcomes should be measured to provide outcomes-based performance standards; (5) providing greater support from mental health specialists for management of depressed patients by primary care providers; (6) campaigns to reduce the stigma associated with treatment of depressive illness; (7) increased dissemination of interventions that activate and empower patients managing a depressive illness; (8) redefining the lack of time of primary care providers for high-quality depression care as issues in organization of care and provider training; and (9) development of incentives (organizational or financial) for high-quality depression care. Research needs were identified according to what has been learned to date. Identified research needs included: studies of approaches to organization of case management, research in new populations (e.g., new diagnostic groups, rural populations, the disadvantaged, the elderly, and those with chronic medical illnesses), research on stepped care and relapse prevention strategies, evaluation of the societal benefits of improved depression care, and multisite trials and meta-analytic approaches that can provide adequate statistical power to assess societal benefits of improved care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Case Management / organization & administration
  • Cost of Illness
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Disease Management
  • Family Practice / standards*
  • Health Services Accessibility / standards*
  • Humans
  • Needs Assessment / organization & administration*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / organization & administration
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Primary Health Care / standards*
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Recurrence
  • Research / standards*
  • Total Quality Management / organization & administration*