Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs), controlled clinical trials, controlled before-and-after studies, and interrupted time-series were eligible for inclusion.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies of organisational or educational interventions, or original modes of providing health care, were eligible for inclusion. The interventions had to be targeted at health care professionals and patients. Studies of only patient-level interventions or screening strategies were excluded. The review broadly classified intervention strategies as explicit plans and protocols including guidelines; changes in the design of the delivery system; attention to the information needs of the patients; ready access to necessary expertise; and information support systems. Most studies used more than one of these strategies, while many studies used complex and multifaceted interventions. The majority of studies were conducted in primary care practice in the USA. Further details of many of the interventions used in the primary studies were reported elsewhere (see Other Publications of Related Interest).
Participants included in the review
Studies that targeted health professionals working in primary care (medical and nonmedical) and patients were eligible for inclusion. Some included studies reported patients as the participants, while others reported clinicians, general practitioners and health care workers; some reported both.
Outcomes assessed in the review
The outcomes of interest were the management and outcome of depression and health-related quality of life. The included studies assessed prescriptions for antidepressants, knowledge about depression, depression assessed using various scales, compliance with antidepressants, adherence to guidelines, recognition of depression and suicide rates.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
The authors did not state how the papers were selected for the review, or how many reviewers performed the selection.