Improving Depression Care Through an Online Learning Collaborative

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Abstract

Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide, and many internists diagnose and treat depression. This study aimed to examine the impact of a practice improvement intervention on screening and managing patients with depression in primary care. This pre-post study design included a physician practice survey designed to capture what the physicians believed they were doing in practice, a chart audit tool to capture what physicians were actually doing in practice, and an intervention that included an evidence-based educational program, online toolkit, and practice improvement coaching conference calls that promoted group learning. Following completion of the intervention, participants increasingly used the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 to detect, diagnose, and gauge treatment success for depression and reported increased use of guidelines and team-based care. Although barriers to improving depression care exist, this study suggests that evidence-based quality improvement programs can positively affect practice.

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