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Materials now available for quality improvement of depression care in primary care practices

Serious depression affects more than 10 percent of the U.S. adult population each year, but most depressed people receive inappropriate care or no care at all for their depression. Many of those who do receive treatment for depression are treated in primary care settings rather than mental health specialty practices. Yet the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of this level of care are still open to question.

To address these issues, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality supports a Patient Outcomes Research Team (PORT-II) on improving the cost-effectiveness of prepaid depression care, which is led by Kenneth B. Wells, M.D., M.P.H., of RAND, a nonprofit research group in Santa Monica, CA. The PORT-II, which began in April 1995 and will continue through March 2001, is a large demonstration project designed to address issues for depressed patients in primary care. As an outgrowth of this project (AHRQ grant HS08349) and with additional support from the National Institute of Mental Health and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the PORT researchers have developed a quality improvement program containing a set of practical tools that can be used in managed care practices.

Known as the Partners-in-Care Quality Improvement Program, the full set of materials includes everything users need to implement the program. The set includes introductory materials, training materials, materials for primary care physicians, nurses, and patients (available in English and Spanish), as well as various forms. There are guides and manuals, reference cards for clinicians, a patient education video, patient brochure, overview, training agenda and materials, worksheets, personal plans, registers and logs, tracking file cards, therapist study record forms, and comprehensive patient record forms. The materials are not licensed and can be adapted to fit the needs of individual practices.

The materials are available for purchase ($275) from RAND on a cost-recovery basis. For complete ordering information, visit the RAND Health Web site at or call RAND's distribution services toll free at 877-584-8642.

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