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Depression (Unipolar) - Psychiatry Team Doesn't Improve Depression Outcome
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Psychiatry Team Doesn't Improve Depression Outcome
(HealthDay News)
by -- Leslie Sabbagh
Updated: Oct 4th 2006

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WEDNESDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Depressed patients who are treated by a primary care physician aided by a support team including a psychiatrist and nurse are more likely to be satisfied with care and to receive antidepressants, but these patients are no more likely to have an improvement in depression than patients whose doctors don't have the extra support, according to a report in the Oct. 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Steven K. Dobscha, M.D., of Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Portland, Ore., and colleagues evaluated the outcomes in 189 depressed patients who were treated by clinicians along with a decision support team and compared those patients with 186 patients who had usual care. The support team phoned the patient, conducted education, reviewed records monthly and issued a progress report to the clinician every three months. The patients were assessed for changes in depression scores at six and 12 months.

Although depression scores improved for both groups, the decision support intervention was not clinically or significantly more effective than usual care. At one year, more patients in the intervention group reported increased satisfaction, had seen a mental health specialist at least once and received antidepressants compared with those in usual care.

"Decision support improved processes of care but not depression outcomes. More intensive care management or specialty treatment may be needed to improve depression outcomes," the authors conclude.

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