Phreesia system aims to facilitate depression screenings

Depressive disorders affect approximately 18.8 million Americans 18 years and older, but only 20% of people are adequately treated for their depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. In order to increase detection of mood and anxiety disorders, the American Psychiatric Association and other mental health associations recognize today as National Depression Screening Day.

Phreesia, which produces a touch screen pad patient check-in system, developed a digital Personal Health Questionnaire designed to save doctors time and allow them to screen more patients. “With the paper-based screening, it’s up to front desk staff to identify patients who require the screening. Then they need to locate the appropriate scale, administer it on paper, and manually score the results,” said Phreesia Communications Director Emily Nelson. Phreesia saves clinicians time by automatically choosing appropriate patients to complete the questionnaire based on their recorded characteristics. For instance, a practice can tell the Phreesia system to automatically screen all patients 18 years and older. The survey is electronically administered and scored, and results are then shared with the physician and can be attached to the patient’s electronic medical record.

One practice reported that digital administration of the survey saved up to 45 minutes of work per patient. Phreesia’s version of PHQ-9, the questionnaire used to detect depression, has already been administered to tens of thousands of patients. The digital PHQ-9 makes routine screening manageable, giving physicians a better chance to detect depression early as they screen more patients.

Phreesia’s list of assessments is growing, and digital screening methods can be used for asthma, autism and sleep disorders.

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