In this article, the authors describe the clinical and health-related quality of life outcome measures for depressed patients in the Medical Outcomes Study, a 4-year longitudinal study that started in 1986. They prioritize the measures in terms of importance, consider how they can be improved in future studies, and discuss how they should be used in more applied evaluations, such as studies by managed care companies and group practices. They emphasize the importance of identifying appropriate evaluation questions and selecting study designs and patient populations that permit meaningful answers about evaluating outcomes of care for depression. Although the outcome measures described here may be a useful starting point, they will need to be combined with carefully constructed measures of process of care as well, so that links between the two can be maximized.
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