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.