Background: Evidence-based quality improvement models for depression have not been fully implemented in routine primary care settings. To date, few studies have examined the organizational factors associated with depression management in real-world primary care practice. To successfully implement quality improvement models for depression, there must be a better understanding of the relevant organizational structure and processes of the primary care setting. The objective of this study is to describe these organizational features of routine primary care practice, and the organization of depression care, using survey questions derived from an evidence-based framework.
Methods: We used this framework to implement a survey of 27 practices comprised of 49 unique offices within a large primary care practice network in western Pennsylvania. Survey questions addressed practice structure (e.g., human resources, leadership, information technology (IT) infrastructure, and external incentives) and process features (e.g., staff performance, degree of integrated depression care, and IT performance).
Results: The results of our survey demonstrated substantial variation across the practice network of organizational factors pertinent to implementation of evidence-based depression management. Notably, quality improvement capability and IT infrastructure were widespread, but specific application to depression care differed between practices, as did coordination and communication tasks surrounding depression treatment.
Conclusions: The primary care practices in the network that we surveyed are at differing stages in their organization and implementation of evidence-based depression management. Practical surveys such as this may serve to better direct implementation of these quality improvement strategies for depression by improving understanding of the organizational barriers and facilitators that exist within both practices and practice networks. In addition, survey information can inform efforts of individual primary care practices in customizing intervention strategies to improve depression management.