Background: Recent studies provide new insights about strategies that improve depression outcomes. We explored the feasibility of implementing these strategies in community practices.
Methods: Clinicians followed an office system approach to management of depression. There were no controls. The office system was based on established routines performed by a primary care clinician working in a prepared practice, a telephone care manager, and a collaborating psychiatrist, all using a common severity monitoring tool. Five practices with 18 clinicians participated. Sixty-six adult patients had depression diagnosed, and 60 (91%) received care according to the model through 8 weeks of follow-up visits. Depression outcomes were assessed using PHQ-9.
Results: At baseline, 48 (80%) patients met criteria for major depressive disorder, chronic depression, or both, while others had less severe symptoms. Of 32 patients with moderately severe or severe depression, the 8-week follow-up severity score decreased by > or = 50% for 23 (70%). Of patient barriers to adherence, ambivalence about treatment and medication side effects were most common. Most patients received three care manager telephone calls requiring 6 to 10 minutes each.
Conclusion: Application of the office system was feasible in this demonstration project. If results are confirmed in further studies, this approach will be appropriate for widespread application.