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Applying Depression-Specific Change Concepts in a Collaborative Breakthrough Series

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Background: Twenty ethnically and geographically diverse health care organizations, including 15 Bureau of Primary Health Care centers, participated in an Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) collaborative Breakthrough Series (BTS) project on depression. Teams attended three learning sessions that emphasized the chronic illness care model, key depression change concepts, and how to initiate plan-do-study-act cycles.

Results: Seventeen of the 20 organizations completing the BTS achieved a faculty assessment of at least a 4 (5 indicates significant improvement). More than 2,000 patients initiated depression treatment and were registered in the plan's depression registries. Patients in the centers who used the recommended measures had the following outcomes: 56% had significant change in their depressive symptoms at 12 weeks, 87% completed follow-up assessments, 54% continued antidepressant medication for at least 10 weeks, and 90% completed a structured diagnostic assessment before treatment.

Discussion: On the basis of the feedback from ten successful teams, the essential change concepts for depression were establishing and maintaining a patient registry, care coordination, diagnostic assessment, and proactive follow-up. Many of the BTS centers have continued to expand their depression treatment programs. The IHI BTS appears to be a viable method of disseminating evidence-based depression care.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2005

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president for the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission, is the inaugural editor-in-chief of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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