Computerised patient-specific guidelines for management of common mental disorders in primary care

Hollie V Thomas, Glyn Lewis, Margaret Watson, Truda Bell, Ita Lyons, Keith Lloyd, Scott Weich, Deborah Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: A large proportion of people with depression and anxiety go unrecognised by their general practitioner (GP). Case-finding does not appear to be effective on its own.AIM: To compare the effectiveness of case-finding followed by computer-generated patient-specific guidelines with usual care for the management of common mental disorders in primary care.DESIGN OF STUDY: Individual patient randomised controlled trial.SETTING: Five general practices in Bristol and Cardiff.METHOD: 762 individuals aged >/= 16 years scoring >/= 12 on the Clinical Interview Schedule Revised were randomised. The experimental intervention required participants to complete a computerised psychosocial assessment that generated a report for the GP including patient-specific treatment recommendations. The control patients were treated as usual with access to locally agreed guidelines.RESULTS: Participants' 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) score dropped irrespective of treatment allocation. The experimental group had a significantly lower GHQ score at 6 weeks, but not at 6 months. Recovery at 6 months was 3% greater among those receiving the experimental intervention (95% confidence interval [CI] = -4 to 10). Treatment was not significantly associated with quality of life or patient satisfaction.CONCLUSION: Only small benefits are likely from using case-finding followed by patient-specific guidelines to improve clinical management of common mental disorders in primary care. However, depression and anxiety are important public health problems so the utility of such systems should be further investigated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)832-837
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number508
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004


  • adolescent
  • adult
  • aged
  • anxiety disorders
  • decision making, computer-assisted
  • depressive disorder
  • family practice
  • follow-up studies
  • humans
  • mental disorders
  • middle aged
  • patient satisfaction
  • practice guidelines as topic
  • quality of life
  • treatment outcome


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