Effectiveness of disease management programmes for recognition, diagnosis and treatment of depression in primary care

Dick Bijl*, Harm W.J. van Marwijk, Marten de Haan, Willem van Tilburg, Aart Jan T.F. Beekman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: Screening is advocated to improve the recognition of patients with major depression in primary care. Furthermore, disease management programmes are advocated to improve the quality of care and outcome for these patients. But is screening and the subsequent implementation of a disease management programme more effective than usual care? Methods: Review of the literature on the effects of disease management programmes that include screening for major depression in general practice. Results: Six randomised controlled trials were identified in which the effectiveness of disease management programmes were studied in patients with major depression in primary care and compared with usual care. The majority of these, and especially the largest, showed positive effects on the recognition, diagnosis, treatment and outcome of patients. Populations in the US seem to benefit most. Conclusion: The results of disease management programmes for depression in primary care that include screening are positive and are more effective than usual care. Therefore, if preceded by screening, attention to the whole process of care for patients with major depression instead of paying attention to isolated elements of the process is justified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-12
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of General Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2004

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