Population Health Management Approach to Depression Symptom Monitoring in Primary Care via Patient Portal: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Am J Med Qual. 2023 Jul-Aug;38(4):188-195. doi: 10.1097/JMQ.0000000000000126. Epub 2023 Jun 15.


Depression is undertreated in primary care. Using patient portals to administer regular symptom assessments could facilitate more timely care. At an urban academic medical center outpatient clinic, patients with active portal accounts and depression on their problem list or a positive screen in the past year were randomized to assessment during triage at visits (usual care) versus usual care plus assessment via portal (population health care). Portal invitations were sent regardless of whether patients had scheduled appointments. More patients completed assessments in the population health care arm than usual care: 59% versus 18%, P < 0.001. Depression symptoms were more common among patients who completed their initial assessment via the portal versus in the clinic. In the population health care arm, 57% (N = 80/140) of patients with moderate-to-severe symptoms completed at least 1 follow-up assessment versus 37% (N = 13/35) in usual care. A portal-based population health approach could improve depression monitoring in primary care.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03832283.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Appointments and Schedules
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Patient Portals*
  • Population Health Management*
  • Primary Health Care

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03832283