The proposed capstone project topic is a clinical practice problem in the context of a primary care setting. The problem that will be the focus of this project is the underutilization of evidence-based screening tools for depression among adult patients with chronic medical conditions.
Depression is a prevalent and debilitating mental health disorder that is frequently associated with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and chronic pain. Patients with depression and chronic medical conditions have worse clinical outcomes, increased healthcare utilization, and higher healthcare costs compared to patients with either condition alone. Despite the availability of validated screening tools for depression, such as the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), the uptake of these tools in clinical practice is low.
The setting for this project will be a primary care clinic that serves a diverse population of adult patients with chronic medical conditions. The clinic is located in an urban area and is staffed by primary care providers, nurses, and medical assistants. The patient population includes individuals with a range of chronic medical conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, chronic pain, and cardiovascular diseases.
The proposed initiative is to implement an evidence-based depression screening protocol in the primary care clinic using the PHQ-9 tool. The initiative will involve training primary care providers, nurses, and medical assistants on the use of the PHQ-9 tool, developing a standardized process for administering the tool to patients, and creating a plan for follow-up care for patients who screen positive for depression.
The educational need for this project is to increase the knowledge and skills of primary care providers, nurses, and medical assistants in the identification and management of depression among patients with chronic medical conditions. The project will provide an opportunity for these healthcare professionals to learn about the importance of depression screening, the use of evidence-based screening tools, and the implementation of a protocol for follow-up care.
In conclusion, the proposed capstone project topic is the underutilization of evidence-based screening tools for depression among adult patients with chronic medical conditions in a primary care setting. The project will involve implementing a standardized depression screening protocol using the PHQ-9 tool and providing education to primary care providers, nurses, and medical assistants on the identification and management of depression in patients with chronic medical conditions. This project has the potential to improve patient outcomes, reduce healthcare utilization and costs, and enhance the role of primary care providers in the management of mental health disorders.