Collaborative Management to Achieve Depression Treatment Guidelines

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Two models that integrate the psychiatrist into treatment of depression in primary care have been evaluated in randomized controlled trials. In the psychiatrist/primary care model, a psychiatrist alternated visits with a primary care physician to assist in the education and pharmacologic treatment of the patient. In the psychiatrist/psychologist team model, the psychiatrist worked with a team of psychologists to improve adherence to and effectiveness of antidepressant treatment, with psychologists also providing brief behavioral treatment in the primary care clinic. Findings with the psychiatry/primary care model are reported. It was found that the collaborative model was associated with improved adherence to treatment, increased patient satisfaction with depression care, and improved depression outcome compared with usual care by primary care physicians alone. Similar results were found in the study of the psychiatrist/psychologist collaborative care model. The success of these models indicates the appropriateness of a novel role for the psychiatrist and psychologist, i.e., that of collaboration with primary care physicians in care of the depressed patient in the primary care setting.

J Clin Psychiatry 1997;58(suppl 1):20–23