Depression Screening Should Be Part Of Primary Care, USPSTF Recommends

Primary care providers should regularly screen for depression in all adult patients, urges the US Preventive Services Task Force in a revised recommendation. A 2009 recommendation by the panel called for depression screening of adults when supports are in place, and for offering judicious screening when this support is unavailable.

These revised guidelines, which fall under a “B” grade, for “high certainty that the net benefit is moderate or there is moderate certainty that the net benefit is moderate to substantial,” get rid of the selective screening and make a point of adding pregnant and postpartum women.

“In recognition that such support is now much more widely available and accepted as part of mental health care, the current recommendation statement has omitted the recommendation regarding selective screening, as it is no longer representative of current clinical practice,”

the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) wrote.

The draft recommendations are available for public comment from now until Aug. 24, 2015.

The draft, like all USPSTF statements, carries the following disclaimer:

“The USPSTF recognizes that clinical decisions involve more considerations than evidence alone. Clinicians should understand the evidence but individualize decision making to the specific patient or situation. Similarly, the USPSTF notes that policy and coverage decisions involve considerations in addition to the evidence of clinical benefits and harms.”

US Preventive Services Task Force. AHRQ Publication No. 14-05208-EF-1. Screening for Depression in Adults: An Updated Systematic Evidence Review. July 2015. Available at: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/draft-evidence-review109/depression-in-adults-screening1

US Preventive Services Task Force. Draft Recommendation Statement: Depression in Adults: Screening. July 2015. Available at: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/draft-recommendation-statement115/depression-in-adults-screening1

Illustration: Rowena Dugdale, Wellcome Images

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