Worksite Disease Management Programs for Depression: Potential Employer Benefits
Diane E. Steffick
John C. Fortney
Jeffrey L. Smith
Jeffrey M. Pyne
Disease management has the potential to make great improvements in the treatment of depressive disorders, yielding benefits for both the patients receiving treatment and their employers. This review of the medical and business literature found that this potential is still largely untapped, with few existing disease management programs for depression and only one with a published, peer-reviewed evaluation. However, there is a large evidence base for potential components of a disease management program from the academic literature on quality improvement for depression treatment. The business literature documents several employer responses to depressive disorders aside from traditional disease management including stress reduction and wellness programs, depression education programs, Employee Assistance Programs, and disability claim management. This review finds evidence of substantial costs of this illness in the workplace, particularly the indirect costs of reduced productivity, and potential strategies for employers to reduce these costs.
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