Managed care effective for depression
The UNIVERSITY of Michigan has completed its Depression in Primary Care project. This aimed to support doctors managing patients with depression.
In this project, nurses or social workers were appointed as care managers. They assessed and monitored the patients and provided them with education about self-management skills.
Information about outcomes is available for 120 people, from five clinics, who were reassessed 18 months after enrolling in the project. They were compared with a control group of 66 patients attending five other primary care clinics. The patients had a mean age of 46 years, most had recurrent or chronic depression and many were already taking antidepressant drugs.
According to a health questionnaire, patients in the managed care group had lower scores for depression after six months. By 12 months the difference between the intervention and control groups had become significant and remained so at 18 months.