A Survey of Primary Care Provider Attitudes and Behaviors Regarding Treatment of Adult Depression: What Changes After a Collaborative Care Intervention?

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Objective: To assess primary care provider (PCP) attitudes and self-reported behavior with regard to identifying and managing depression in adult patients before and after a chronic disease/collaborative care intervention.

Method: A self-administered cross-sectional survey was conducted in 6 targeted practices among 39 family practice physicians, family nurse practitioners, and residents before and after implementation of a depression in primary care project. In this project, the sites received tools and training in depression screening and guideline-concordant treatment, facilitated referral services for patients to access mental health providers, psychiatric phone consultation, patient education materials, and services of a depression care manager. The project was conducted from June 2003 through June 2006.

Results: Comparison of responses prior to and after the intervention showed that significantly or nearly significantly larger proportions of PCPs endorsed the importance of depression as a patient presenting problem (p = .000), increased provision of supportive counseling (p = .13), more often identified counseling or therapy as effective (p = .07), and more often referred patients to mental health services (p = .001). PCPs also reduced their perception that treating depression is time consuming (p = .000).

Conclusions: After a chronic disease/collaborative care approach to depression treatment in primary care was implemented, PCP attitudes and behaviors about depression treatment were significantly modified. More guideline-concordant care, and increased collaboration with mental health services, was reported. Implications for future primary care depression intervention activities and research are discussed.

Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2008;10(3):182-186

https://doi.org/10.4088/PCC.v10n0301