The nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) is derived from the
Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders (PRIME-MD) to assist general
practitioners in the diagnosis and evaluation of psychiatric disorders.
Robert Spitzer, M.D., Kurt Kroenke, M.D., and colleagues at Columbia
University developed the PRIME-MD in the mid-1990s in collaboration with
researchers at the Regenstrief Institute at Indiana University.
Currently, a number of primary care practices in New York City are using
the PHQ-9 to screen patients for depression (Psychiatric News, May
20). In addition, according to Kroenke, who is one of the co-principal
investigators for the primary care track of the National Depression Management
Leadership Initiative, the PHQ-9 is used for depression screening in some
places by the VA and the Kaiser Permanente health care system.
The questionnaire includes items corresponding to each of the nine
depression criteria listed in the DSM-IV, and scores range from 0 to
27. Cutpoints of 5, 10, 15, and 20 represent the thresholds for mild,
moderate, moderately severe, and severe depression.
Pfizer Inc. owns the copyright to the PHQ-9 and makes it available to
clinicians at no cost.
The PHQ-9 is posted online at<www.pfizer.com/phq-9/>.