Polaris Study: Screening Heart Patients for Depression with a Cardiac-based Assessment Greatly Reduces False Positives

When screening heart patients for depression, it is more effective and accurate to use a tool that has been tailored specifically for cardiac patients, a study from Polaris Health Directions finds.

Langhorne, PA, September 24, 2010 --(PR.com)-- When screening for depression among patients with heart disease, using an assessment that has been designed specifically for cardiac patients is more effective and accurate, according to research from Polaris Health Directions.

In a multi-year study, Polaris assessed 1,000 cardiac patients for depression using Polaris-CV (cardiovascular), a behavioral health outcomes management system for cardiology. The patients were recruited from Golden Gate Cardiology and California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, the Cardiovascular Institute in Philadelphia, Pa., and Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Using questions recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, 550 (55 percent) screened positive for depression. Polaris-CV, which considers the unique circumstances of heart disease, determined that 450 patients (45 percent) suffered from some degree of depression, eliminating 100 false-positives.

“Somatic symptoms of depression, such as sleep problems, among cardiac patients may reflect their cardiac disorder rather than depression,” said Dr. Grant Grissom, president of Polaris and principal investigator of the study. “Polaris-CV reduces false-positives by using a normed range for cardiac patients rather than the general population, and assessing depression-related conditions that are important to consider when determining treatment options, including ‘watch and wait.’”

The improved accuracy substantially reduced the time medical staff had to spend evaluating depression in patients with only minor symptoms, opening up resources for those patients with more severe levels of depression.

The Polaris-CV assessments also identified other depression-related conditions easily missed by cardiologists. Nearly one in five patients (18.9 percent) reported recent bereavement. One in eight (12.9 percent) reported a common symptom of bipolar disorder. Twenty-four patients (2.4 percent) reported that they often use alcohol or drugs to alter their mood.

For more information on Polaris-CV (http://www.polarishealth.com/solutions/CV/cv.html) or the study, send an e-mail to moreinfo@polarishealth.com.

The clinical trial was supported by Award Number R44 MH060535 from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute, or the National Institutes of Health.

About Polaris Health Directions

At Polaris, we recognize that organizations cannot manage what they do not measure. Many behavioral health care providers and payers may not be collecting and analyzing enough of the right data to answer basic questions about the cost-effectiveness of the care they offer. Polaris's advanced technology and science driven assessment systems are designed to capture the clinical data essential to quality improvement and enhanced organizational management. Polaris solutions provide advanced analytics to help you improve and demonstrate to your customers the value of your care. With a focus on prediction, Polaris solutions do more than describe clinical change. Our systems also indicate if treatment is likely to have a positive result. Helping you make better decisions in the present by anticipating the future will be the difference in reducing your costs while improving patient care. Learn more at http://www.polarishealth.com or follow Polaris on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Polaris-Health-Directions/414281978272?ref=ts.

Polaris Health Directions
Dr. Grant Grissom