Physician Practice

Patients with depression a challenge for primary care

Physician Practice Insider, July 27, 2016

A new study finds that patients diagnosed with depression often rely on their primary care physician for treatment, but many physicians don’t have the resources to give them the help they need.

The study, published in the March issue of Health Affairs, compared physician strategies used to treat depression to best practices for treating common chronic illnesses such as diabetes and asthma. While primary care physicians may not immediately come to mind as a destination for patients with depression, the study found that primary care doctors treat more than half of all patients seeking help for the condition.

“Primary care physicians play an important role in diagnosing and managing depression,” the study stated. “Of the eight million ambulatory care visits for depression each year, over half are to a primary care physician.”

The study, which analyzed data from the National Study of Physician Organizations, notes that patients often see their primary care doctors as either a starting point to get care or as the best option they have when no other care is available.

This article was originally published in Physician Practice Perspectives. Subscribers can read the full article in the July 2016 issue.

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