Using the Electronic Medical Record to Examine Racial and Et | 45633

Primary Health Care: Open Access

ISSN - 2167-1079


Using the Electronic Medical Record to Examine Racial and Ethnic Differences in Depression Diagnosis and Treatment in a Primary Care Population

Nhi-Ha T. Trinh, Rachel LaRocca, Susan Regan, Trina E. Chang, Stephen E. Gilman ScD, Maurizio Fava and Albert Yeung

Objective: We assessed racial and ethnic differences in depression diagnosis and treatment in a primary care population. Methods: A sample of primary care outpatients in 2007 was generated using the electronic medical record (EMR). Patients were considered depressed if their providers billed for depression-related codes; they were considered prescribed antidepressants if any antidepressants were on their medication list. Rates of diagnosis and medication prescription were estimated using a generalized linear model with a Poisson distribution, adjusting for covariates. Results: In the resulting sample (n=85,790), all minority groups were less likely to be diagnosed with depression as compared to Whites (p<0.05); 11.36% of Whites had a depression diagnosis, as compared to 6.44% of Asian Americans, 7.55% of African Americans, and 10.18% of Latino Americans. Among those with a depression diagnosis (n=11,096), 54.07% of African Americans were prescribed antidepressant medications, as compared to 63.19% Whites (p<0.05); Asian Americans and Latino Americans showed a trend of being less likely to be prescribed antidepressant medications. Conclusions: Our study illustrates differences in diagnosis and treatment for minority primary care patients, and is innovative in using the EMR to probe these differences. Further research is needed to understand the underlying reasons for these observed differences.