VitalSign6

Making Screening for Depression the 6th Vital Sign

VitalSign6 is an easy-to-use, comprehensive program for the identification and treatment of depression in primary care, pediatric, and specialty clinics.

Community Engagement

The CDRC has provided VitalSign6 training in over 30 primary-care and pediatric clinics in North Texas

– impacting more than 65,000 patients since 2014.

 

Why We Do the Work

VitalSign6 aims to provide medical providers with the means to efficiently and effectively diagnose and manage depression and improve care for patients through:

Implementation of routine, evidence-based depression screening.

The program utilizes an innovative web-based application to administer the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) and other Measurement-Based Care (MBC) systematic assessments to patients. Patients complete the measures on an iPad during the triage process, thus making screening for depression the sixth vital sign after body temperature, pulse rate, respiration rate, blood pressure, and pain.

Objective
  • Improve access to behavioral health care for all patient populations by systematically identifying patients with depression and initiating treatment within the primary care setting.
Optimized Outcomes

The evidence-based treatment guidelines of VitalSign6 are opening up the door for more and more patients to achieve remission of their depressive symptoms.

Participating VitalSign6 clinics have access to a variety of educational resources developed by the VitalSign6 team. Composed of psychiatrists, psychologists, medical social workers, and other staff, this team provides structured guidance on the use of evidence-based pharmacotherapy and brief psychosocial interventions. They are available, either on-site or via phone, to assist primary care clinics with any aspect of MBC for patients with depression.

VitalSign6@UTSouthwestern.edu us to learn how to become a VitalSign6 clinic.

Integration into standard practice for patients who screen positive.

The integration into standard practice of a scientifically validated, measurement-based care (MBC) program for the treatment of depression for patients who screen positive.

Objective

  • Optimize depression treatment outcomes (symptom severity, side-effect burden, and adherence) by providing education and structured guidance on the use of evidence-based pharmacotherapy and brief psychosocial interventions, as well as training in the implementation of validated care coordination strategies

The concept of MBC for the treatment of depression includes the systematic assessment of:

  • Depressive symptoms
  • Antidepressant treatment side effects
  • Antidepressant treatment adherence

These MBC assessments are given at defined intervals using validated rating scales with the goal of reaching full remission.

All instruments are available in English and Spanish.

VitalSign6@UTSouthwestern.edu us to learn how to become a VitalSign6 clinic.

Integrated clinical decision support.

The concept of MBC for the treatment of depression includes the systematic assessment of depressive symptoms, antidepressant treatment side effects, and antidepressant treatment adherence at defined intervals using validated rating scales with the goal of reaching full remission.

The Annual Screen

VitalSign6 prompts participating clinics to screen every patient for depression annually. In an initial screen, patients use the iPad application to complete a shortened, two-item version of the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-2). If a patient has a positive PHQ-2 score, the application automatically administers additional assessments, including the full PHQ-9. VitalSign6 displays these results to providers and guides them in making a diagnosis and selecting a treatment plan. 

MBC in Primary Care

Once a provider diagnoses a patient with depression, that patient is initiated into measurement-based care (MBC). At every follow-up visit, patients in MBC use VitalSign6 to complete a set of assessments measuring the three critical areas of MBC: symptoms, side effects, and medication adherence. Providers use these sequential measurements to narrow the scope of their mental health interview with patients while still providing thorough, high-quality care.

VitalSign6@UTSouthwestern.edu us to learn how to become a VitalSign6 clinic.

 

Stay Engaged

 

CDRC@UTSouthwestern.edu us for information about CDRC programs, research, or activities.