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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 129-133

Screening of patients with chronic medical disorders in the outpatient department for depression using handheld computers as interface and patient health questionnaire-9 as a tool

1 Department of Medicine, Family Medicine, All Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
2 Department of Community and Family Medicine, Family Medicine, All Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Vaibhav Kumar Ingle
Department of Medicine, AIIMS, Saket Nagar, Bhopal - 462 024, Madhya Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2229-516X.205809

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Background and Objectives: Depression, especially in concurrence with chronic medical disorders, is highly prevalent worldwide. An average between 9.3% and 23% of patients with one or more chronic disease have co-morbid depression. This comorbid depression has the worst health scores of all the disease states. Despite this, patients with chronic medical disorders are not commonly screened for depression. Lack of objective screening by health-care providers as well as lack of infrastructure (time/space/personnel) probably contributes to gross underdiagnosis of depression. This issue can be addressed using short objective depression screening score (Patient Health Questionnaire-9 [PHQ-9]) (validated in native languages, e.g., Hindi) and paperless self-administered interface on handheld computer (tablet), which is the objective of the study. Subjects and Methods: One hundred consecutive patients with chronic medical disorders visiting our medicine outpatient department were screened for depression using tablets with PHQ-9 Hindi on a self-administered interface. Results: The overall prevalence of depression was found to be 25% (95% confidence interval 16.6–34.8). Nearly half of the patients with depression had moderate depression (PHQ-9 score 10–14) while rest had moderately severe or very severe depression (PHQ-9 score >14). Association of depression was not found to be statistically significant with age, duration of disease, gender, the type of disease, or the number of disease. Majority of patients rated ease of the use of tablet interface (on a visual analog scale) as very easy (approx 95%). All the patients were able to complete the tablet screener without assistance, answering all of the questions. The median time of completion with interquartile range was 4 (3–5) min. Majority of the patients (63%) completed the questionnaire within 5 min while rest completed it in 5–10 min. Conclusions: It is feasible to use tablets with PHQ-9 questionnaire in native language for screening depression in chronic medical disorders. With high prevalence of comorbid depression, any comprehensive care of patients with chronic medical disorders will not be possible, unless such patients are screened and treated for depression. A self-administered screening questionnaire for depression on handheld tablets can prove to be a handy tool to achieve above aim.

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