BackgroundIn the current healthcare system in the USA, common mental health conditions are frequently undertreated. As a result, unacceptable disability, morbidity and mortality rates occur. Various stakeholders define, provide, monitor and may reward providers of mental health care, but based on differing interests and agendas. Examples of the implementation of evidence-based practice in general care, accompanied by changes in fiscal incentives, are rare outside of research endeavours. Methods We review as a case study a Minnesota state-wide effort to introduce collaborative care into 80 primary care clinics in order to improve the outcomes of depressed patients. This effort has been named the DIAMOND project (Depression Initiative Across Minnesota, Offering a New Direction) and it may illustrate several key steps towards creating value at the interface between primary care and specialty mental health care. Outcomes were defined and will be examined for a three-year period from when the initiative began in March 2008. ResultsTo date the results are encouraging. All 80 clinics have introduced a new measurement tool into their practices, trained and hired care managers, and have developed an ongoing relationship with a psychiatrist. Over 4800 patients have been screened for depression, have received treatment and have been followed to ensure compliance and better outcomes. Remission rates (averaging 27%) are at levels comparable to research studies which have more stringent inclusion and exclusion criteria. Challenges including the loss of eligible patients are described. Conclusion To create value in depression management, not only was a viable model required, but also a process for implementation and a structure for ongoing support of the model. The case study presented offers lessons that might be applied elsewhere toward creating value at the mental health and primary care interface.
Mark D Williams, Nancy Jaeckels, Teresa A Rummans, Kristin Somers, Robert E Nesse, R Scott Gorman