Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Psychosom Med. 2003 Nov-Dec;65(6):931-7.

Disease management for depression and at-risk drinking via telephone in an older population of veterans.

Author information

  • 1Section of Geriatric Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.



The purpose of this study was to explore the efficacy in a primary care setting of a telephone-based disease management program for the acute management of depression and/or at-risk drinking.


Veterans (N= 97) with depression and/or at-risk drinking were identified by systematic screening and assessment. Eligible subjects received either telephone disease management (TDM) program or usual care based on random assignment of their clinician. The TDM program consisted of regular contacts with each subject by a behavioral health specialist (BHS) to assist in assessment, education, support, and treatment planning. Symptomatic outcomes were assessed at 4 months.


Overall response rates favored those assigned to TDM compared with those assigned to usual care (39.1% responded vs. 17.6%, p= 0.022). Response rates within the separate diagnostic groups also favored TDM, but this was only significant for depressive disorders.


Although the sample size was modest and the sample was limited to veterans, findings strongly suggest that a telephone-based disease management program can improve outcomes for patients with a behavioral health problem. Findings also suggest that a health specialist can focus and manage patients with different diagnoses, thus expanding the role beyond just depression care. TDM may be a viable, low-cost, model for primary care clinicians to deliver manual guideline-adherent behavioral health care, especially in a VA clinical setting.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
    Loading ...
    Support Center