What measurement means for depression care

Depression is more than feeling sad or "blue." When the sad feelings are intense, last for more than a few days, and/or interfere with your daily activities, you may have major depression -- which is a treatable medical condition. Most people who seek treatment make progress toward feeling better, which means they’re responding well to treatment.

The Depression: Improved Symptoms (6 Months) measure reports on how many patients with depression reported fewer or improved symptoms six months after starting treatment. This is known as “response," because it means you are responding to the treatment prescribed by your doctor.

The statewide six-month response rate for all reporting clinics is 14%. This means in Minnesota and some neighboring areas, 14 of 100 patients with depression reported response after six months of treatment.

High treatment response rates 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 patients feel based on their responses to the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) survey with nine questions. If a patient has a low score on the PHQ-9, it is a sign that the treatment is working. Using a denominator of patients age 18 and older with major depression or dysthymia whose initial PHQ-9 score is greater than 9, this measure reports the percent of patients whose PHQ-9 score at six months decreased at least 50% from their initial PHQ-9 score. Your doctor should ask you to complete the PHQ-9 survey during each visit to see how well your treatment is working. Learn more about the PHQ-9 survey  

This report is based on services patients received between November 1, 2016 and May 30, 2018. The information is collected under the measure name Depression: 6 Month Response.

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 (12 Months)  

Depression: Follow Up (6 Months)  

Depression: Follow Up (12 Months)