COVID-19 Update: Information and resources can be found here.

About VitalSign6

VitalSign6: Making Screening for Depression the Sixth Vital Sign is an easy-to-use, comprehensive program for the identification and treatment of depression in primary care, pediatric and specialty clinics.

The program utilizes an innovative web-based iPad application, VS6, to administer measurement-based care (MBC) assessments to patients during the triage process.

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. 

Why VitalSign6?

Depression remains a major health problem:

  • Depression and suicide are increasing problems among our returning veterans. It is estimated that 10% to 14% of patients seen in primary care clinics have major depression (Pignone et al. 2002). Unfortunately, reports also suggest that half of these patients will not be recognized as having depression (Coyne et al. 1995, Kessler et al. 2003).
  • For those treated with antidepressants, evidence suggests that only one out of five patients will receive adequate dosing (Young et al. 2001; Kessler et al. 2003).
  • Despite the reported shortcomings mentioned above, research from the STAR*D study shows it is possible to provide high-quality treatment in primary care settings with outcomes equal to those provided by specialty care (Trivedi et al. 2006; Gaynes et al. 2009). For these reasons, the MBC approach is highly recommended for primary care settings.
  • One in six adults will experience depression in his or her lifetime with the first episode often occurring in childhood or adolescence (Hales  et al.2014).
  • Diagnostic sensitivity of PCP’s for major depressive disorder tends to be around 50% (Pence  et al . 2012).
  • Despite our best efforts at treating depression, many patients do not receive adequate treatment. (Kessler et al. 2003).