What measurement means for depression care

Depression is more than feeling sad or "blue" and can interfere with daily life. Depression is a treatable medical condition and most people who seek treatment can get better.

Your doctor tracks your progress in treatment for depression by using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) tool. Using the nine-question survey will highlight problems you are having and how you are feeling. Your doctor can use your PHQ-9 score to help decide what treatment options may be best for you. Over time, your score can also show how well your treatment is working.

Follow-up is a critical aspect of depression care and treatment. The more information your doctor has about your depression symptoms over time, the better he or she can help you manage and treat it. If you have a history of major depression, completing the PHQ-9 six months after beginning treatment is a way for your health care provider to measure your symptoms and the effectiveness of your treatment.

The Depression: Follow Up (6 Months) measure reports how often clinics have their patients with depression complete the PHQ-9 six months after starting treatment.

The statewide rate of follow up at six months that uses the PHQ-9, by all reporting clinics is 34%. This means 34 of 100 patients with depression were evaluated by their clinics using the PHQ-9 survey six months after beginning treatment.

High rates of follow-up can be a sign of strong clinic performance in depression care. It’s important to know that small differences in percentages don’t necessarily reflect the quality of care you’ll receive with a certain medical group or clinic. It is more important to note the large differences between providers, and speak with your doctor if you have questions or concerns.

How we calculate the measure

We measure how well medical groups and clinics use the PHQ-9 survey as part of their depression follow-up care. This measure is based on the percent of patient’s age 18 and older with major depression or dysthymia with a completed PHQ-9. Your doctor should ask you to complete the PHQ-9 during each visit to see how well your treatment is working. Learn more about the PHQ-9  

This report is based on services patients received between November 1, 2016 and May 30, 2018. This information is collected under the measure name Depression: PHQ-9 Follow Up 6 Months.

Risk-adjusted measures

The information reported about this measure on MNHealthScores is risk-adjusted.

Risk adjustment is a way to make it easier to compare clinics or medical groups by accounting for the differences of specific patient groups. The process should separate the clinic/medical group’s true impact on patients’ health and allow them to be compared more easily.

MN Community Measurement uses an actual-to-expected process, which is also known as a methodology. This process does not change a clinic/medical group’s result; the actual rate remains the same. Instead, each clinic/medical group’s actual rate is compared to the rate that we expected to see, based on the different types of patient characteristics seen at that clinic/medical group.

More details about our risk adjustment methodology and the variables used for the measures reported on MNHealthScores.org can be found in the most current Health Care Quality Report.


This measure is part of a larger group of related measures on Depression. Visit the measures below to see more medical group and clinic ratings on Depression:

Depression: Assessing Symptoms  

Depression: Feel Better (6 Months)  

Depression: Feel Better (12 Months)  

Depression: Improved Symptoms (6 Months)  

Depression: Improved Symptoms (12 Months)  

Depression: Follow Up (12 Months)