Is Web-Based Mental Health Screening Feasible?

(HealthDay News) — For patients in general hospital settings, a routine web-based mental health screening is feasible and acceptable, according to a study published in General Hospital Psychiatry.

Lauren Rayner, PhD, from King’s College London, and colleagues investigated the feasibility and acceptability of routine web-based screening in general hospital settings. Patients completed a web-based questionnaire comprising patient-reported mental and physical conditions while waiting for their appointment in six specialties (rheumatology, limb reconstruction, hepatitis C, psoriasis, adult congenital heart disease [ACHD], and chronic pain) across three general hospitals in London.

The researchers found that the proportion of patients who completed the questionnaires (feasibility) varied from 40.1 to 98.2% across specialties. Acceptability was quantified by a low decline rate, ranging from 0.6–9.7%, and a minority of patients requiring assistance (11.7–40.4%). There was considerable variation in the prevalence of probable depression, from 60.9% in chronic pain to 6.6% in ACHD. For probable anxiety, the prevalence ranged from 25.1% in rheumatology to 11.4% in ACHD.

“Web-based screening is acceptable to patients and can be effectively embedded in routine practice,” the authors write. “General hospital patients are at increased risk of common mental disorders, and routine screening may help identify need, inform care, and monitor outcomes.”

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