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Chinese American patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) tend to underutilize mental health services and are more likely to seek help in primary care settings than from mental health specialists. Our team has reported that Culturally Sensitive Collaborative Treatment (CSCT) is effective in improving recognition and treatment engagement of depressed Chinese Americans in primary care. The current study builds on this prior research by incorporating telemedicine technology into the CSCT model.
We propose a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the acceptability and effectiveness of a telepsychiatry-based culturally sensitive collaborative treatment (T-CSCT) intervention targeted toward Chinese Americans. Patients meeting the study's eligibility criteria will receive either treatment as usual or the intervention under investigation. The six-month intervention involves: 1) an initial psychiatric interview using a culturally sensitive protocol via videoconference; 2) eight scheduled phone visits with a care manager assigned to the patient, who will monitor the patient's progress, as well as medication side effects and dosage if applicable; and 3) collaboration between the patient's PCP, psychiatrist, and care manager. Outcome measures include depressive symptom severity as well as patient and PCP satisfaction with the telepsychiatry-based care management service.
The study investigates the T-CSCT model, which we believe will increase the feasibility and practicality of the CSCT model by adopting telemedicine technology. We anticipate that this model will expand access to culturally competent psychiatrists fluent in patients' native languages to improve treatment of depressed minority patients in primary care settings.