Using a computerized patient database to evaluate guideline adherence and measure patterns of care for major depression

  • Robert Rosenheck
  • Roland S. Chen
Brief Reports


This study examined the translation of recommendations from the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) guidelines for major depression into measures derived from a computerized database to assess guideline conformance and patterns of care for major depression. Patients (n = 208) were identified who were hospitalized for major depression and had two or more outpatient mental health appointments within 6 months of discharge from an academically affiliated Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Measures were based on AHCPR guideline recommendations or developed independently. Conformance could be measured for three guideline recommendations. Of patients on single-agent antidepressant therapy, 87% received dosages within the recommended range. Sixty-nine percent received the recommended number of follow-up visits. Specific condition-related treatment interventions were identified in 32% of patients with concurrent alcoholism. Dual diagnoses of depression and drug or alcohol abuse were not deterrents to prescribing benzodiazepines. Despite its limitations, computerized database analyses provided efficient measures of guideline adherence.


Major Depression Alcohol Abuse Veteran Affair Guideline Recommendation Health Care Policy 
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Copyright information

© Association of Behavioral Healthcare Management, NCCBH 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northeast Program Evaluation CenterWest Haven
  2. 2.Outcomes ResearchBristol-Myers Squibb CompanyUSA

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