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Am J Manag Care. 2007 Dec;13(12):652-60.

Time allocation and caseload capacity in telephone depression care management.

Author information

  • 1VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Health Services Research & Development, 1100 Olive Way, Ste 1400, Seattle WA 98101, USA. chuan-fen.liu@med.va.gov

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To document time allocated to care management activities and care manager workload capacity using data collected for studies of telephone care management of depression.

STUDY DESIGN:

Cross-sectional, descriptive analysis of depression care manager (DCM) activities and workload in 2 collaborative depression care interventions (1 implementation study and 1 effectiveness study) at Department of Veterans Affairs primary care facilities.

METHODS:

Each intervention tracked specific care management activities for 4 weeks, recording the number of events for each activity type and length of time for each activity. Patient workload data were obtained from the patient tracking systems for the 2 projects. We calculated the average time for each activity type, the average total time required to complete an initial assessment call and follow-up call, and the maximum patient panel for both projects.

RESULTS:

The total time per successful initial assessment was 75 to 95 minutes, and the total time per successful follow-up call was 51 to 60 minutes, with more time spent on ancillary activities (precall preparation, postcall documentation, and provider communication) than on direct patient contact. A significant amount of time was spent in unsuccessful call attempts, requiring 9 to 11 minutes for each attempt. The maximum panel size per care manager per quarter was in the range of 143 to 165 patients.

CONCLUSIONS:

The study found similar DCM time allocations and panel sizes across 2 studies and 3 regions with full-time DCMs. Reductions in DCM time spent on ancillary activities may be achievable through improved informatics and other support for panel management.

PMID:
18069908
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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