Long-term effects on medical costs of improving depression outcomes in patients with depression and diabetes
ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to examine the 5-year effects on total health care costs of the Pathways depression intervention program for patients with diabetes and comorbid depression compared with usual primary care.
The Pathways Study was conducted in nine primary care practices of a large HMO and enrolled 329 patients with diabetes and comorbid major depression. The current study analyzed the differences in long-term medical costs between intervention and usual care patients. Participants were randomly assigned to a nurse depression intervention (n = 164) or to usual primary care (n = 165). The intervention included education about depression, behavioral activation, and a choice of either starting with support of antidepressant medication treatment by the primary care doctor or problem-solving therapy in primary care. Interventions were provided for up to 12 months, and the main outcome measures are health costs over a 5-year period.
Patients in the intervention arm of the study had improved depression outcomes and trends for reduced 5-year mean total medical costs of -$3,907 (95% CI -$15,454 less to $7,640 more) compared with usual care patients. A sensitivity analysis found that these cost differences were largely explained by the patients with depression and the most severe medical comorbidity.
The Pathways depression collaborative care program improved depression outcomes compared with usual care with no evidence of greater long-term costs and with trends for reduced costs among the more severely medically ill patients with diabetes.
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ABSTRACT: To explore the usefulness of "anhedonia", "fatigue" and "depressed mood" as screening symptoms for predicting a depressive episode in physically ill patients. 290 patients filled in a modified version of the Patient Questionnaire and were subsequently assessed by psychiatrists with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI; ICD-10 version). 63 patients suffered from a current depressive episode according to the CIDI. If at least two of the three symptoms were used for screening positively (ICD-10 algorithm), the sensitivity was 93.2% and the specificity 72.7%, while the simpler algorithm of DSM-IV - requiring depressed mood or anhedonia to be present - yielded a slightly higher sensitivity (95.2%) and a slightly lower specificity (66.5%). One in five patients with a depressive episode did not report "depressed mood". It remains unclear how relevant the three core symptoms of depression are for the diagnosis of an ICD-10 depression in people who are not physically ill. The fact that both diagnostic algorithms yielded comparable results suggests that the more parsimonious DSM-IV algorithm is preferable and "fatigue" could be left out as a screening symptom. Since "depressed mood" was absent in a substantial proportion of patients, special attention has to be paid to "anhedonia". Medical students and non-psychiatric clinicians should be especially trained to ask for anhedonia, so that cases of depression will not be overlooked.Journal of Affective Disorders 10/2010; 126(1-2):245-51. DOI:10.1016/j.jad.2010.03.023
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ABSTRACT: Psychology and other behavioral health professions have amassed a broad empirical and clinical literature suggesting many medical presentations are best responded to with the addition of evidence based behavioral interventions. Despite this, psychology has not achieved a regular presence as part of medical practice. We suggest specific reasons for the current state of affairs including clinical, operational, societal labels, financial and training dimensions. Medical, psychological, administrative, and financial perspectives are reviewed. If the goals of health care system reform are to be reached then we must identify and challenge the current limitations of health care. This paper will identify the elements that need to be changed in order for psychology to be integrated into medicine rather than excluded from its policy, planning and operations.Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings 03/2009; 16(1):4-12. DOI:10.1007/s10880-009-9146-y
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ABSTRACT: Depression is highly prevalent in cardiac patients, with 20% to 40% of patients meeting criteria for major depressive disorder or experiencing an elevation in depressive symptoms. These depressive symptoms are often chronic and persistent, and they have been associated with the development and progression of coronary artery disease, worse health-related quality of life, poor physical functioning, recurrent cardiac events, and a 2- to 2.5-fold increased risk of mortality. Impaired adherence to health behaviors and adverse physiological effects of depression, including inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, platelet hyperactivity, and autonomic nervous system abnormalities, may link depression with adverse cardiac outcomes. Pharmacologic and psychotherapeutic interventions appear to be safe and effective at reducing depressive symptoms in patients with cardiovascular disease and may impact cardiac outcomes. Unfortunately, depression often is unrecognized and untreated in this population, despite the availability of brief screening tools that can be used for this purpose. We recommend the routine screening of cardiac patients for depression when there are adequate mechanisms for management and referral, such as available consulting psychiatrists or care management programs that facilitate the delivery of pharmacologic and psychotherapeutic treatments in this vulnerable population.Cardiology in review 01/2011; 19(3):130-42. DOI:10.1097/CRD.0b013e31820e8106