Health Care Costs
Collaborative care management programs for major and chronic depression among older adults in primary care are more effective and cost-efficient than usual care, according to a study in the American Journal of Managed Care.
Researchers found that patients who were treated under the collaborative care programs were more likely to experience less depression and improved physical and social functions. According to the researchers, there also was a related reduction in costs, with collaborative care costs averaging $29,422 per patient over a four-year period, compared with $32,785 per usual care patient during the same time frame.
The study population primarily was comprised of insured and educated whites, and researchers concluded that further research should be performed among lower-income, underinsured populations, predominately of minority races and ethnicities, to determine if the findings also apply to these populations (Unützer et al., American Journal of Managed Care, February 2008).