Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

E-depression: ways of improving care of persons with depressive disorder

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
3.08.00  Medical sciences  Public health (occupational safety)   

Code Science Field
B680  Biomedical sciences  Public health, epidemiology 
treatment of depression, health care management, e-health, automated follow-up, information and communication technologies
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (12)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  04967  PhD Andrej Brodnik  Computer intensive methods and applications  Researcher  2008  449 
2.  26321  Manca Drobne  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2008  54 
3.  26180  Dejan Kozel  Psychiatry  Researcher  2007 - 2009  49 
4.  29587  PhD Marja Kuzmanić  Psychiatry  Junior researcher  2009  31 
5.  12768  PhD Andrej Marušič  Psychiatry  Researcher  2007  882 
6.  26489  PhD Matic Meglič  Public health (occupational safety)  Junior researcher  2007 - 2009  92 
7.  26181  Milan Mirjanič  Psychiatry  Researcher  2007 - 2009  15 
8.  28757  PhD Vita Poštuvan  Psychology  Researcher  2009  530 
9.  28026  PhD Sandra Radoš Krnel  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2007 - 2008  199 
10.  30865  PhD Marco Sarchiapone  Psychiatry  Head  2009  58 
11.  29970  Sanja Temnik  Psychiatry  Researcher  2009  36 
12.  19906  PhD Aleksander Zadel  Psychology  Researcher  2008 - 2009  114 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  1669  University of Primorska, Andrej Marušič Insitute  Koper  1810014007  10,792 
Depression represents an important public health concern as it is an underestimated disorder, undertreated (when recognised) and unsuccesfully treated (when treatment is attempted). The latter has its origins in the general public (the attached stigma), in doctors treating depression (lack of resources, time and knowledge, too) and in patients themselves (lack of compliance and empowerment). The reasons do overlap, of course. The aim of our study is to explore whether e-health technologies can contribute in improving the standard (insufficiently effective) care of depression by adding new ways of following-up persons with this disorder, effectively allocating the usually scarce resources and, at last but not at least, by empowering patients. The studied sample will constitute 200 consequtive patients with depressive disorder at the primary care level. They will be randomly divided into the cases (100) or controls group (100). Apart from the standard care of depression cases will also be entitled for information-and-communication-technology-wise upgraded care, which will be involving internet-related activities (regular weekly self-assessment of depression; regular communication with the internet site manager; visiting other internet sites, ...). They will be contacted six months later for research variables to be collected: level of depression, presence of side effects, level of compliance and satisfaction with the care offerred. Another variable for comparison will be cost-effectiveness of the upgraded care, which will be measured by comparing input of care and outcome effects on both side. There have been no similar study to our knowledge so far apart from the IMPACTA, which has not involved patients themselves, but has shown some positive effects on treatment effects. Accordingly, this is an exploratory study and no firm hypothesis can be formed at present time.
Significance for science
The project has confirmed that we can improve depression treatment outcome by combining the clinical sciences (psychiatry, primary care) and ICT science. The research has confirmed the positive effect of eHealth based depression treatment support tools - by enabling organizational change (care management) and active patient engagement. The demonstrated improvements both in therapy compliance and clinical outcome (becoming healthy) of depression treatment spur additional research in Slovenia and around the world. This way eHealth permeates not only into somatic but also into mental health. Direct effects have also been a great interest of the scientific community, publications of new knowledge (for example in the most recent international book on eHealth). Added value is also reflected in research group's success in acquiring further funding to continue and expand research work in the field of electronic support of integrated health care - both SRA and Ministry of Health have recognized the importance of our work and granted further funding to continue our work.
Significance for the country
The project has brought to Slovenia not only new knowledge and findings but also an already developed and proven tool and approach to more efficient and effective treatment of patients with depression - a disease that will contribute the greatest disease burden to the health system in a few years time. Implementation of the described approach in near future (negotiations taking place already) can bring direct savings (improve utilization of human and financial resources in health care) and indirect savings to Slovene economy (reduced presenteesm, absenteesm). In the time of the project the researc team has already begun disseminating the knowledge to diverse partners from Slovenia by participating in several further projects (i.e. iHub, ZdravjeZame). This way we have helped imroving competitiveness of our partners. Further (already planned) research in the field of eHealth supported care management will enable support for other (high burden, chronic) diseases, bringing further financial savings in the mid-term. Academic involvement and publications also contribute to imoroved visibility of Slovene research and researchers in the world and increases collaboration and knowledge transfer within Slovene partners.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2008, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2008, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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