The following article is a part of conference coverage from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) 34th Annual Conference, held online from September 30 to October 4, 2020. The team at the Clinical Advisor will be reporting on the latest news and research conducted by leading nurses in psychiatry. Check back for more from APNA 2020.


Use of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) and patient-centered right care screening tools can increase rates of depression screening and assist in early identification of patients in need of intervention. This is according to a poster presented at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association 34th Annual Conference, held online from September 30 to October 4, 2020.

Researchers aimed to improve depression screening from 0% to 30% in 8 weeks using the PHQ-9 in combination with patient-centered right care at a rural primary care clinic in Mississippi, where a chart review revealed 100% noncompliance in screening patients for depression.

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A rapid-cycle plan-do-study-act methodology was used to evaluate 4 core interventions over 8 weeks. These processes and interventions included team engagement through bi-weekly team meetings, patient engagement through health education, implementation of the PHQ-9 for depression screening, and the development of patient action plans through shared decision-making.

Overall, adult depression screening improved when the PHQ-9 and patient-centered right care were implemented. Depression screening increased from 0% to 90.4% which well exceeded the aimed improvement of 30%. By the conclusion of the 8-week project, depression screening increased from a baseline of 0% to 87.5%, which also exceeded the targeted 70% improvement rate. Most significantly, 31.1% of patients screened positive for depression via the PHQ-9 (score ≥5), which exceeds the national average of 8%.

“The data collected through this project substantiated the need for not only routine depression screening but the necessity of onsite educational materials on depression,” the researchers concluded. “Next steps include requiring…staff to utilize the PHQ-9 questionnaire. Further steps include encouraging colleagues to incorporate depression screening in their plan of care.”

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Bradford ER, Urquhart GE. Improving depression screening using the PHQ-9 and patient-centered right care in a primary care clinic. Presented at: APNA 34th Annual Conference; September 30-October 4, 2020. Poster 130.