US Practitioners confident in use of EPDS; not charting results

A study entitled “Universal Screening for Postpartum Depression: an inquiry into provider attitudes and practice”, presented January 2009 at the 29th Annual Meeting of the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine, January 2009, evaluated usage of the EPDS in an academic based clinical center and also evaluated the practitioner’s knowledge of and attitude towards the EPDS.

A total of 512 records were studied with a rather large difference between percentage of documented screens and reported rates of confidence and knowledge of screening. Only 39% of records included notated screens, 35% charted counseling with patients about their results,  even though 94% of practitioners reported they are responsible for and comfortable with making a diagnosis of a Postpartum Mood Disorder.

The study’s authors concluded that even though practitioners are confident they are not charting the results.

What does this mean?

Either practitioners are not as confident as they claim and really are not screening at a higher suspected level or they are truly confident and not documenting the patient’s complete visit. Whatever the case may be, something needs to change. Increased documentation of Postpartum Mood Disorders would allow for better understanding of how many women really do suffer. It also raises the question if more women than we think are seeking treatment and this information is just not making into the documentation. But at least these practitioners are asking the questions and not wording their way out of it much like a recent UK based study, right?


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