ScienceBlog posted “Depression Screening Rates in Primary Care Remain Low” on 2-20-17. This article reviews the results of a study that found that, in spite of efforts to increase depression screening in PCP offices, less than 5% of adult patients are actually screened.
In addition, the study found that many of them were known to have depression symptoms, indicating that screening, when used, is often limited to patients already suspected to have depression. Also, some patient groups are more likely to be screened, such as females and people with chronic conditions. Older adults and African Americans are half as likely to be screened.
The blog concludes with a quote from the authors of the original study, “ “failure to consistently apply standards of universal screening across all patient groups may exacerbate existing disparities in the identification and diagnosis of depression.”
Mhconcierge’s take: The article does not discuss possible reasons for this problem. Many PCPs are dissatisfied with commonly recommended, or mandated, depression screening tools, such as the PHQ. Collaborating with PCPs to help them with these issues is a potential opportunity to expand your practice.