Depression affects up to 20% of primary care patients and negatively affects patients' mental and physical health.
At a primary care clinic, a review of 291 patient records revealed that no patients were being screened for depression using a validated and reliable tool.
The problem was addressed through the implementation of a depression screening and management protocol based on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines. Processes used were recommended by the American College of Preventive Medicine and Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement.
This project implemented a protocol to screen, treat, and manage patients with depression at this primary care clinic. Analysis compared preimplementation and postimplementation metrics, including the number of patients screened for depression, newly diagnosed with depression, offered antidepressants, offered referral, and managed with follow-up.
Implementing a depression screening and management protocol in this clinic significantly increased depression screenings, the percent of patients newly diagnosed with depression, and the number of patients offered treatment.
This quality improvement (QI) project improved screening, diagnosis, and management of patients with depression in this primary care clinic. A future QI project for this clinic should focus on measures to track improvements in patients with depression at this primary care clinic.