Depression Screening for New Moms

Bayhealth uses Epic to screen all new mothers for postpartum depression


They say a new baby is a bundle of joy, but for 1 in 9 women in the United States, that joy can be accompanied by postpartum depression. At Bayhealth in Delaware, where 160-200 babies are delivered each month, screening every mom is key to reducing health risks for both mom and baby in the “fourth trimester.” After implementing the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale available in Epic’s Foundation System and increasing staff education about the tool, Bayhealth increased postpartum screenings by 1,027%.

Nurses use the depression scale to screen moms within 24 hours postpartum and identify treatment options. Moms who have a high screening score are offered a social services consult along with a one-week follow-up appointment with their OB. Even if they aren’t at high risk, some moms are now seen within two weeks, rather than the standard six. Nurses also make follow-up phone calls to all new moms.

“Most of the time, women get help from a support services team, including the chaplain or Social Work department,” said Kathryn Starr Lynch, senior nurse manager at Bayhealth Center for Women and Infants. “Sometimes what women have is exhaustion, so we teach them what they can do for themselves, and we educate family members too.”

In the past year, Bayhealth has screened more than 2,200 patients, with nearly 7% identified as at risk for postpartum depression. To support these patients, one local practice added a licensed clinical social worker to their staff.

Read more about Bayhealth’s efforts on their community blog. Epic community members can learn more about using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and the PHQ-9 questionnaire to screen for depression as part of Epic’s initiative to improve maternal health outcomes.