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Patient-Centered Care May Aid Chronic Depression

HealthLeaders Media Staff, November 1, 2010

Relatively simple interventions such as follow-up phone conversations with care managers appear to help patients control chronic depression symptoms. This care-management-based approach may provide a model for managing other chronic conditions in the primary care setting.

A September/October issue of Annals of Family Medicine, analyzes a strategy for improving and sustaining mental health results in chronically depressed patients by providing small amounts of flexible, targeted follow-up care. Patients who received interventions that included self-monitoring tools and follow-up phone calls from a care manager were more likely, a year and a half later, to have symptoms that were in remission and to have fewer reduced-function days than those receiving usual primary care treatments.

The depression interventions were introduced in five family care practices at the University of Michigan Health System. Here are the specifics:

  • 728 enrollees were compared to 78 control patients receiving usual care for 18 months
  • At the end of the study 49.2% of 120 enrollees who completed 18-month assessments were in remission
  • At the end of the study 27.3% in the control group were in remission
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