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Aikens JE, Trivedi R, Heapy A, Pfeiffer PN, Piette JD. Potential Impact of Incorporating a Patient-Selected Support Person into mHealth for Depression. Journal of general internal medicine. 2015 Jun 1; 30(6):797-803.
BACKGROUND: Although telephone care management improves depression outcomes, its implementation as a standalone strategy is often not feasible in resource-constrained settings. Moreover, little research has examined the potential role of self-management support from patients'' trusted confidants. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the potential benefits of integrating a patient-selected support person into automated mobile health (mHealth) for depression. DESIGN: Patient preference trial. PARTICIPANTS: Depressed primary care patients who were at risk for antidepressant nonadherence (i.e., Morisky Medication Adherence Scale total score > 1). INTERVENTION: Patients received weekly interactive voice response (IVR) telephone calls for depression that included self-management guidance. They could opt to designate a lay support person from outside their home to receive guidance on supporting their self-management. Patients'' clinicians were automatically notified of urgent patient issues. MAIN MEASURES: Each week over a period of 6 months, we used IVR calls to monitor depression with the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9; with total < 5 classified as remission), adherence (single item reflecting perfect adherence over the past week), and functional impairment (any bed days due to mental health). KEY RESULTS: Of 221 at-risk patients, 61% participated with a support person. Analyses were adjusted for race, medical comorbidity, and baseline levels of symptom severity and adherence. Significant interaction effects indicated that during the initial phase of the program, only patients who participated with a support person improved significantly in their likelihood of either adhering to antidepressant medication (AOR = 1.31, 95% CI: 1.16-1.47, p < 0.001) or achieving remission of depression symptoms (AOR = 1.24, 95% CI: 1.14-1.34, p < 0.001). These benefits were maintained throughout the 6-month observation period. CONCLUSIONS: Incorporating the "human factor" of a patient-selected support person into automated mHealth for depression self-management may yield sustained improvements in antidepressant adherence and depression symptom remission. However, this needs to be confirmed in a subsequent randomized controlled trial.