Tailored, Targeted Depression-Recognition Interventions Have Minimal Benefit, Study Shows

November 15, 2013 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


Two interventions designed to improve patients’ likelihood and ability to seek treatment for depression were found to have minimal benefit at the 12-week follow-up, concludes a study published November 6, 2013, in JAMA. Because tailored and targeted interventions are associated with increased patient engagement, the researchers sought to determine whether a depression engagement video targeted to patients’ gender and economic status or an interactive multimedia computer program tailored to the individual patient’s characteristics, interests, and problems would improve initial treatment of depression without increasing unnecessary antidepressant prescribing. In an analysis of the 867 participants, both the video and computer program increased patient-reported requests for information about depression from their providers. Among nondepressed patients, the researchers found no evidence of harm resulting from the interventions, although there was a 3.5% increase in the rate of antidepressant prescribing by their clinicians. Patients who watched the video made about three times as many requests for antidepressants as control group participants and those who used the computer program.

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