BACKGROUND: The health service delivery framework collaborative care is an effective intervention for depression. However, uncertainties remain about how to optimise its delivery at scale. Structured case management is a core component of collaborative care; its delivery via the telephone may improve access.
AIMS: To examine using meta-regression if telephone delivered case management diminishes the clinical effectiveness of collaborative care on depressive symptoms and anti-depressant use relative to face-to-face delivery methods.
METHODS: Randomised controlled trials were eligible if they included collaborative care interventions for adults with depression identified using self-report measures or diagnostic interviews and reported depression outcomes. Sociodemographics, intervention characteristics, depressive symptoms, and anti-depressant use were extracted. Random effects univariable and multivariable meta-regression analyses were used to examine the moderating effect of telephone delivered case-management on outcomes.
RESULTS: Ninety-four trials were identified comprising of 103 comparisons across 24, 132 participants with depression outcomes and 67 comparisons from 15,367 participants with anti-depressant use outcomes. Telephone delivered case management did not diminish the effects of collaborative care on depressive symptoms (β = -0.01, 95% CI -0.12 to 0.10; p = 0.86). Telephone delivered case management decreased anti-depressant medication use (relative risk 0.76, 95% CI 0.63 to 0.92; p = 0.005); this effect remained when assessed simultaneously alongside other study-level moderators of collaborative care.
CONCLUSION: Using remote platforms such as the telephone to deliver case management may be a feasible way to implement collaborative care with no loss of effectiveness on depressive symptoms. However, adherence to anti-depressant medication may decrease when telephone case management is used.