Referral to Talk Therapy Cuts Costs, Improves Outcomes

Adults with common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety consume more health resources than those without, a new study from the United Kingdom confirms.

“This is across the board,” Professor Simon de Lusignan, MD(Res), from the Department of Health Care Management and Policy, University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom, told Medscape Medical News. They have more inpatient days, outpatient and emergency department visits, and sick days than those patients without common mental health problems, he said.

Importantly, Dr. de Lusignan added, the study also shows that referring patients with common mental health problems to psychological therapy reduces healthcare utilization and sick time, and may improve adherence to drug therapy.

The improved adherence is “probably the most important finding because if people take their medications they generally will remain healthier, which will save money in the long run,” Philip R. Muskin, MD, clinical psychiatry professor at Columbia University in New York City and distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, noted in an interview with Medscape Medical News.

The study was published online October 3 in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health….

By Megan Brooks


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