Cary Usher


Positive Screening for Depression in Primary Care, Now What?

Purpose: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders in primary care settings, yet Primary Care Providers (PCPs) continue to underdiagnose and undertreat it. Patients with chronic health conditions are at increased risk for MDD and experience higher morbidity and mortality when it is not recognized or treated. PCPs report a lack of knowledge in diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of mental health disorders as barriers to recognition and treatment. The purpose of this project was to improve PCP knowledge and confidence in the use of evidence-based guidelines for screening, diagnosis, and treatment of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) among patients being seen in a primary care setting through an educational intervention.

Methods: This was a quality improvement project (QI) with a pre- and post-intervention design. The educational intervention was a 20-minute web-based presentation. Participants were 16 PCPs employed by CareATC, a national health care corporation. Pre-intervention measures of knowledge and confidence regarding assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of MDD were compared to post-intervention measure at 2-weeks using independent t-tests.

Results: There were statistically significant increases in PCP knowledge (p<.001) and confidence p< .001 in assessing, diagnosing, and treating depression.
Discussion: Brief, web-based educational interventions can be an effective avenue for reaching busy PCPs’ and improving their competencies in the recognition and treatment of MDD.

Conclusions: Early recognition and treatment of MDD in primary care can reduce morbidities and mortalities among patients with chronic health problems in primary care settings.

Major Professor: Eileen Cormier, PhD, RN








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