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Using Algorithms and Computerized Decision Support Systems to Treat Major Depression

J Clin Psychiatry 2011;72(12):e36
10.4088/JCP.10027tx4cc

The American Psychiatric Association practice guidelines for treating major depressive disorder advocate using measurement-based care and treatment algorithms, which have been shown to be effective strategies in improving patient outcomes. However, in practice, clinicians may avoid using algorithms and guidelines due to barriers such as lack of time, lack of staff support, and the perceived inflexibility of algorithms. Computerized decision support systems (CDSS) are one approach to increasing guideline adherence. A CDSS can make measurement-based care strategies accessible and user-friendly for physicians and staff, individualize treatment options according to each patient’s circumstances, and provide guideline information at the point of care. In addition, a CDSS can be merged with electronic health record systems, which should simplify implementation and increase guideline adherence.

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