This article was originally published here
Contemp Clin Trials. 2021 Jan 18:106284. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2021.106284. Online ahead of print.
While most patients with depression, anxiety, or at-risk drinking receive care exclusively in primary care settings, primary care providers experience challenges in diagnosing and treating these common problems. Over the past two decades, the collaborative care model has addressed these challenges. However, this model has been adopted very slowly due to the high costs of care managers; inability to sustain their role in small practices; and the perceived lack of relevance of interventions focused on a specific psychiatric diagnosis. Thus, we designed an innovative randomized clinical trial (RCT), the Primary Care Assessment and Research of a Telephone Intervention for Neuropsychiatric Conditions with Education and Resources study (PARTNERs). This RCT compared the outcomes of enhanced usual care and a novel model of collaborative care in primary care patients with depressive disorders, generalized anxiety, social phobia, panic disorder, at-risk drinking, or alcohol use disorders. These conditions were selected because they are present in almost a third of patients seen in primary care settings. Innovations included assigning the care manager role to trained lay providers supported by computer-based tools; providing all care management centrally by phone – i.e., the intervention was delivered without any face-to-face contact between the patient and the care team; and basing patient eligibility and treatment selection on a transdiagnostic approach using the same eligibility criteria and the same treatment algorithms regardless of the participants’ specific psychiatric diagnosis. This paper describes the design of this RCT and discusses the rationale for its main design features.