Published on December 06, 2018

New report highlights progress in care of people with depression

Minnesota Community Measurement’s first-ever report on Depression Care in Minnesota highlights progress that has been made in identifying and caring for adults and adolescents diagnosed with depression. 

Depression is one of the most common and treatable mental health disorders in the United States. In 2016, more than 16 million adults in the U. S. experienced at least one episode of major depression in the previous 12 months. And depression is not limited to adults. In 2016, more than 3 million adolescents age 12 to 17 had at least one major depressive episode.

Depression is an important focus for measurement because of the large numbers of adult patients with this chronic episodic condition and known gaps in care related to follow-up and treatment. Patients with depression, an isolating condition, are less capable of reaching out, keeping appointments and maintaining a connection with their provider compared to patients with other conditions. Maintaining proactive contact (in person, phone or other mode) is key to recovery and improved outcomes.

Essentia Health understands the connection between emotional and physical health and providers work to care for the whole person. Essentia Health has instilled new practices to ensure patients’ depression care doesn’t end with a screening, but results in steadfast improvements to their follow-up care. Essentia Health Physician Leader Dr. Joe Bianco says, “We have worked hard at Essentia Health to promote best practices in the diagnosis of depression and its monitoring. Our principles of team-based care have allowed us to share the work of patient monitoring across the team. We engaged in a process improvement project to be proactive in outreaching to patients at six and 12 months. We now have centralized that process to serve the entire organization. By close monitoring we can follow-up with our patients in a more comprehensive and timely manner in order to address the complexity of treating depression.”

There were 15 clinics that received a top rating on depression remission at 12 months. Of those 15 clinics, 8 of the top performers were Essentia Health clinics. Clinics in Pierz, Pine River, Valley City, Superior, Hayward, Hibbing, Lakeside and Ashland all ranked in the top 15.

Essentia Health was one of five medical groups that received a top rating on depression remission at 12 months.