Design and implementation of the Telemedicine-Enhanced Antidepressant Management Study

Louisiana State University in Shreveport, Shreveport, Louisiana, United States
General Hospital Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 2.61). 02/2006; 28(1):18-26. DOI: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2005.07.001
Source: PubMed


Evidence-based practices designed for large urban clinics are not necessarily transportable into small rural practices. Implementing collaborative care for depression in small rural primary care clinics presents unique challenges because it is typically not feasible to employ on-site mental health specialists. The purpose of the Telemedicine-Enhanced Antidepressant Management (TEAM) study was to evaluate a collaborative care model adapted for small rural clinics using telemedicine technologies. The purpose of this paper is to describe the TEAM study design.
The TEAM study was conducted in small rural Veterans Administration community-based outpatient clinics with interactive video equipment available for mental health, but no on-site psychiatrists/psychologists. The study attempted to enroll all patients whose depression could be appropriately treated in primary care.
The clinical characteristics of the 395 study participants differed significantly from most previous trials of collaborative care. At baseline, 41% were already receiving primary care depression treatment. Study participants averaged 5.5 chronic physical health illnesses and 56.5% had a comorbid anxiety disorder. Over half (57.2%) reported that pain impaired their functioning extremely or quite a bit.
Despite small patient populations in rural clinics, enough patients with depression can be successfully enrolled to evaluate telemedicine-based collaborative care.

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