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Implementing a Depression Improvement Intervention in Five Health Care Organizations: Experience from the RESPECT-Depression Trial

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Abstract

A growing body of research provides strong evidence for the effectiveness of programs to improve the primary care of depression based on the chronic care model. At the same time these changes are difficult to sustain in their original research settings and more difficult to widely disseminate in primary care practice. The RESPECT-Depression trial tested an implementation and dissemination strategy by working through five community-based health care organizations (HCOs) to implement the Three Component Model (TCM) for improving depression care. This report describes the results of extensive interviews of project principals, health care program managers, depression care managers, and practicing primary care clinicians to understand the characteristics of organizations and the intervention components that were associated with implementation and dissemination of the TCM. In two of the organizations all 29 participating practices continued the TCM, while all 31 practices from the other three organizations did not. Successful continuation and dissemination appeared to be related to a broadly shared vision and commitment among all levels of the organization, clearly articulated by clinical leadership, for pursuing a systematic change strategy to improve chronic care that included, but extended beyond, depression, independent of clear evidence for cost-effectiveness of expanding depression management. Factors associated with inability to sustain the TCM included lack of a shared change strategy throughout the organization and inability to rationalize an economic model of depression care.

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Acknowledgements

This work was funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, through the Initiative on Depression and Primary Care. The authors would like to thank the many program managers and clinicians who shared their experiences and perspectives on primary care of depression without whose insights this work would not have been possible.

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Correspondence to Paul A. Nutting.

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Nutting, P.A., Gallagher, K.M., Riley, K. et al. Implementing a Depression Improvement Intervention in Five Health Care Organizations: Experience from the RESPECT-Depression Trial. Adm Policy Ment Health 34, 127–137 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10488-006-0090-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10488-006-0090-y

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