Examining postpartum depression screening effectiveness in well child clinics in Alberta, Canada: A study using the All Our Families cohort and administrative data

Abstract: Affecting 10–15% of women, postpartum depression (PPD) can be debilitating and costly. While early identification has the potential to improve timely care, recommendations regarding the implementation of routine screening are inconsistent. In Alberta, screening is completed using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale during public health well child clinic visits. The objective of this study was to examine the effectiveness of screening in identifying, diagnosing and treating women at increased risk for PPD over the first year postpartum, compared to those unscreened. The All Our Families prospective pregnancy cohort was linked to public health, inpatient, outpatient, physician claims and community pharmaceutical data over the first year postpartum. Descriptive statistics and bivariate analyses examined differences in sample characteristics and PPD and non-PPD related utilization by screening category. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for PPD diagnosis and mental health drugs dispensed were generated using crude and multivariable logistic regression models. Within our sample, 87% of the eligible population were screened, with 3% receiving a high-risk score, and 13% were unscreened. Compared to those unscreened, women screened high-risk had higher odds of being diagnosed with PPD (OR: 3.88, 95% CI: 2.18–6.92) and women screened low/moderate-risk had reduced odds of receiving a diagnosis (OR: 0.51, 95% CI: 0.35–0.74). High-risk women had an increased likelihood of diagnosis, higher PPD-related utilization and drugs dispensed compared to those unscreened. This information suggests that screening was effective at streamlining resources in Alberta. Future work should focus on evaluating the cost-effectiveness of PPD screening.

Year of Publication: 2019

Authors: Shainur Premji, Sheila McDonald, Amy Metcalfe, Deborah A. McNeil, Hude Quan, Peter Faris, Suzanne Tough

Journal Title: Preventive Medicine Reports