Objective: A tool kit was developed to help primary care physicians overcome some of the barriers to recognition and management of depression.
Method: Tools were collected from a variety of sources, categorized by function, and evaluated on the basis of previously established criteria, with the best tools selected for inclusion in the tool kit. New tools were developed when an adequate tool for a desired function was not available. The tool kit was reviewed and then revised based on the feedback from eleven experts on depression in primary care, five medical directors from health care systems or managed care companies, and eighteen primary care physicians. All eighteen primary care physicians completed a questionnaire after reviewing the tool kit as part of the evaluation process.
Results: Only five of the eighteen physicians were using any kind of tool for depression prior to reviewing the tool kit. All eighteen physicians indicated that they were likely to use one or more of the components of the tool kit. On average, physicians indicated they were likely to use 6.5 of the ten types of tools included in the kit.
Conclusions: A depression tool kit containing screening, diagnostic, management planning, and outcomes assessment questionnaires as well as treatment and counseling guidelines, information tables, flow charts, and patient education materials is likely to be well received by primary care physicians. However, its effectiveness may have as much to do with how its use is organized and implemented as it does with the intrinsic value of its components.