Collaborative care for depression in medically ill patients

Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2012 Sep;25(5):405-14. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e3283556c63.


Purpose of review: Depression is common in medically ill patients and associated with a negative prognosis. Recent findings indicate that single interventions have little effect on outcomes in these patients. Alternatively, complex interventions based on a collaborative care model are promising. This review summarizes recent findings regarding collaborative care in medically ill patients with comorbid depression.

Recent findings: Recent trials provide evidence for a significantly beneficial effect on depression outcomes with moderate effect sizes regarding depressive symptoms [standardized mean differences (SMDs): -0.46 to -0.74, n = 5] and depression response [odds ratios (ORs): 1.29 to 4.75, n = 6]. Psychosocial quality of life (SMDs: 0.09 to 0.54, n = 5) and satisfaction with care (ORs: 2.55-7.43, n = 3; SMDs: 0.05 and 0.2, n = 1) were increased in intervention patients compared with usual care, whereas physical quality of life (SMDs: -0.17 to 0.06) was not. The evidence regarding medication adherence and somatic, disease-specific outcomes is sparse and conclusions cannot be drawn so far.

Summary: Collaborative care interventions are efficacious in medically ill patients with depression. However, there is no data concerning their cost-effectiveness. Furthermore, as trials on collaborative care comprise a heterogeneous set of components, the most effective characteristics should be identified. Moreover, these interventions should be adapted to other healthcare systems than the United States.

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Management / organization & administration*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration
  • Quality of Life