GPs cautious about depression diagnosis?

The study in 1500 patients compared depression diagnosed by 51 GPs, who asked the patients about health risk factors, with a depression diagnosis ascertained from patients completing an electronic survey, which included the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-9 depression tool.

The results showed that 20% of patients were identified as depressed by GPs and by the electronic tool.

GPs diagnosed depression with a specificity of 87%. But only 51% of PHQ-9 identified patients were correctly identified as depressed by GPs.

The low sensitivity may reflect a cautious ‘watchful waiting approach’ preferred by GPs, the authors said.

Aust NZ J Psychiatry 2014; online 10 Jan