Depression Calculator app attempts to empower patients with mental health scores

By: Dr. Christopher Exeter

iMedicalApps Patient Centric App review

Introduction and what the App is and what it does

This health app is a simple question and answer tool, enabling an individual to assess whether or not they maybe suffering with depression. It does this by asking 9 questions and providing a series of four prompts, based on regularity of symptoms. The App then provides a view on whether the individual is likely to have depression, and if so its’ severity. It is free to download from iTunes.

Healthcare goals of app

It simply and quickly gives the user an indication of whether they may have depression. Knowing an answer to set of symptoms may in itself help the patient. The App seeks to help educate rather than provide a definite diagnosis, indeed it makes clear that it’s assessing a set of symptoms and providing a tentative assessment. At the end the App provides a set of guidance, with a clear warning that if depression is suspected then the individual should see their doctor.

Any evidence to support the app’s goals?

The World Health Organization estimates that by 2020, depression will be the number 2 cause for lost years in healthy life worldwide. The App is developed by patient.co.uk’s editorial team, who have 10 years experience of creating content, previously given to patients directly by their doctor. The questionnaire is a diagnostic tools used by healthcare professionals to help screen for depression. It is based on the PHQ-9 Screener (patient health questionnaire) www.phqscreeners.com/overview.aspx

Summary of the app

  • What we like: It is easy and simple to use; clearly written; well laid out.
  • What we don’t like: the test is good, but the follow-up information is lengthy. Whilst information is welcome, it could be better segmented for guidance.
  • Click to Connect: one click and your are starting the test
  • Equipment needed: None
  • Facilitate Patient/Clinician Relationship: It should enable an individual to have an informed discussion around a set of clear symptoms.

Any concerns?

The App makes clear that if any suggestion of depression is suspected then the patient must consult their doctor. That said, if a person is to the point they feel they must self-diagnose depression via an app then urgent consultation with their health care provider is necessary no matter what the result of the app’s questionaire.  Basically, if a patient feels the need to download this app — they should be seeing their healthcare provider immediately.  Whilst giving patients guidance is important, the App developers may consider advice for family and friends if they suspect mental health issues in a relative or friend.

iTunes Link

Disclaimer:

This post does not establish, nor is it intended to establish, a patient physician relationship with anyone. It does not substitute for professional advice, and does not substitute for an in-person evaluation with your health care provider. It does not provide the definitive statement on the subject addressed. Before using these apps please consult with your physician or health care provider as to the apps validity and accuracy as this post is not intended to affirm the validity or accuracy of the apps in question. The app(s) mentioned should not be used without consulting your health care provider. 

Author:

iMedicalApps Team

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2 Responses to Depression Calculator app attempts to empower patients with mental health scores

  1. Steve Daviss MD February 23, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    The problem with one-dimensional mental health screening tools, like the PHQ-9, is that they fail to consider other overlapping conditions. For example, as many as one-fourth of people who screen positive for depression have a bipolar disorder, or may have a comorbid anxiety or substance use disorder. Peer-reviewed, evidence-based, multidimensional screening tools have more capability to pick up greater risk for these other conditions. (Eg, WhatsMyM3, M3Clinician) [Disclaimer: I am affiliated with these tools.]

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