Measuring Quality and Assessing Depression in Parkinson’s Disease

You can find out more about NPF's National Medical Director, Dr. Michael S. Okun, by also visiting the NPF Center of Excellence, University of Florida Center for Movement Disorders & Neurorestoration.

April is Parkinson’s disease awareness month and we thought it would be fitting to discuss how we are approaching the measurement of quality, and how best to measure depression at the bedside in Parkinson’s disease.  The NPF has been committed to improving the quality of care throughout its Centers of Excellence network and throughout the world by funding and promoting the Quality Improvement Initiative Study.  The study was modeled after the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s successful registry, profiled by Atul Gawande. In the Cystic Fibrosis experience, their focus on identifying best practices yielded a 10 year increase in life expectancy.  In Parkinson’s disease we are hoping for similar success.

The NPF Parkinson’s disease Quality Improvement Initiative was launched several years ago and the aim was to understand Parkinson’s disease and its care by annually completing a simple profile of the status of people with Parkinson’s and the treatments they receive: one patient assessed on one page, once a year.  The study now has 5000 enrolled patients, and, by looking at how patients change each year, we are getting new insight into important issues like mobility, depression, and cognition in patients and their impacts on quality of life, caregiver stress, and hospitalization. A management guru named Peter Drucker described his philosophy as, “what’s measured improves.”  Now, for the first time in a massive, multi-center study across all stages of the disease, we are measuring health and health care in people with Parkinson’s.  I am really thrilled to be a part of this important initiative and I and my team are drawing insight from this project every day.

Another of the leaders on our Quality Improvement Initiative is Laura Marsh, M.D. of the Houston VA.  She specializes in mental health and Parkinson’s, and has focused on the evaluation of depression in Parkinson’s disease.  This month she published the long awaited Methods of Optimal Depression Detection in Parkinson's Disease (MOOD-PD) study.   This study compared 9 depression scales and made recommendations for use in Parkinson’s disease.  The most important finding was that depression is more common than many thought.  She recommends that doctors always screen for depression in Parkinson’s disease patients because it can be well managed, but when it’s not identified, it can affect everything in a patient’s life.  Interestingly, the depression screening on the commonly used Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale performed the worst, and was not recommended for use in screening patients.  All other scales performed well.  The authors stressed that depression screening should be part of the routine evaluation in Parkinson’s disease patients.

In conclusion, as we strive for better quality of care, we will need to improve our ability to measure quality, and to select bedside tests that can help us to better optimize the management of all Parkinson’s disease patients.  The NPF Quality Improvement Initiative Study and the MOOD-PD study are two important steps in this direction.

Selected References

1. Okun MS, Siderowf A, Nutt JG, O'Conner GT, Bloem BR, Olmstead EM, Guttman M, Simuni T, Cheng E, Cohen EV, Parashos S, Marsh L, Malaty IA, Giladi N, Schmidt P, Oberdorf J. Piloting the NPF data-driven quality improvement initiative. Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2010 Sep;16(8):517-21. Epub 2010 Jul 6. PubMed PMID: 20609611.

2. Williams JR, Hirsch ES, Anderson K, Bush AL, Goldstein SR, Grill S, Lehmann S, Little JT, Margolis RL, Palanci J, Pontone G, Weiss H, Rabins P, Marsh L. A comparison of nine scales to detect depression in Parkinson disease: Which scale to use? Neurology. 2012 Mar 14. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 22422897.

Posted: 4/2/2012 2:44:32 PM by Cathy Whitlock


Browse current and archived What's Hot in PD? articles, the National Parkinson Foundation's monthly blog for people with Parkinson's written by our National Medical Director, Dr. Michael S. Okun. 

July 2014
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June 2014
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May 2014
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April 2014
An Update on DAT Scanning for Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosis

March 2014
Could Northera (Droxidopa) Be an Alternative Treatment for Low Blood Pressure and Passing Out Symptoms?

February 2014
The Dream of a Pill Free Existence and the Continuous Dopaminergic Pump for the Treatment of Parkinson's Disease

January 2014
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December 2013
Could Fungus and Mold be an Important Contributor to Parkinson’s Disease?

November 2013
Pimavanserin and the Hope for a Better Drug for Hallucinations and Psychosis in Parkinson’s Disease

October 2013
Halting of the Creatine Study

September 2013
The Importance of Identifying and Treating Caregiver Strain

August 2013
Putting Parkinson’s Disease Information into the Palm of Your Hand: Parkinson’s Enters the Smartphon

July 2013
What Parkinson’s Disease Patients Need to Know about H. Pylori Gastrointestinal Infections

June 2013
A2A Receptor Antagonists and Parkinson’s Disease Treatment

May 2013
Another Setback for Trophic Factor Treatment in Parkinson's Disease

April 2013
IPX066 and What Patients Really Want in New Carbidopa/Levodopa (Sinemet) Formulations

March 2013
The Weather Forecast for Parkinson’s Disease Calls for Worldwide Economic Storm

February 2013
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January 2013
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December 2012
Neurologist Care Reduces Hospitalizations in Parkinson's Disease

November 2012
A Victory in Court for Parkinson's Disease Patients who Require Ongoing Rehabilitative Therapies

October 2012
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September 2012
What about the new Parkinson’s Disease Vaccine? What should I know?

August 2012
Caffeine as a Potential Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

July 2012
Time to Consider GPi DBS for Parkinson’s Disease: A Shift in the Practice of Patient Selection for DBS

June 2012
A New Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease-Related Constipation

May 2012
Too Many Pills: Improving Delivery Systems for Parkinson’s Disease Drugs

April 2012
Measuring Quality and Assessing Depression in Parkinson's Disease

March 2012
Watch out for Unexpected Obstacles if You Use a Cueing Strategy to Break Freezing of Gait in Parkinson’s Disease

February 2012
Pill Color, Generic Medications and Insurance Issues: Important Medication-Related Tips for the Parkinson’s Disease Patient

January 2012
Are Blood Tests for Parkinson’s Disease on the Horizon?

December 2011
Placing Stem Cells in Animal Models of Parkinson’s Disease: Another Important Step

November 2011
Important News for the Parkinson’s Disease Community: More Evidence that Sinemet and Madopar are Not Toxic and do Not Accelerate Disease Progression

October 2011
The Case for All Parkinson’s Disease Patients to be Co-managed by a Primary Care-Neurologist Team

September 2011
Scientists say Research on Brain Proteins Involved in Parkinson’s Disease is “Shaping” Up

August 2011
Who Actually Takes Care of Most of the Parkinson’s Patients Worldwide: The Need for Education and the Parkinson’s Toolkit

July 2011
If you are Dizzy or Passing Out, it could be Your Parkinson’s Disease or Parkinson’s Disease Medications

June 2011
How Will Group Visits for Parkinson’s Disease Fit into the Future of Parkinson’s Disease Care?

May 2011
Why Patients Should be Wary of Chelation Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease

April 2011
Opening the Door to Gene Therapy in Parkinson’s Disease: The Need for Refinement of the Technology and Approach

March 2011
Does it Matter if I Can’t Get Brand Sinemet?

February 2011
Should I get a DaTscan or PET scan to confirm my diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease?

January 2011
A Critical Reappraisal of the Worst Drugs in Parkinson’s Disease

December 2010
Environmental Risks for PD: Manganese, Welding, Mining, and Parkinsonism

November 2010
Calling for the FDA to Revise the Eight Sinemet a Day Rule

October 2010
Dry Cleaning Solvents and Potential Environmental Risks for Developing Parkinson’s Disease

September 2010
Maintaining the Balance: Why Parkinson’s Disease Patients Need to Understand Drug Recalls, Withdrawals, and Safety Alerts

August 2010
Shining a Light on Parkinson’s Disease: Optogenetics Has a Bright Future in Research

July 2010
Poor Medication Management of Parkinson's Disease During Hospital Admissions: Patients and Families Can Improve Their Hospital-Based Management

June 2010
Why Are Patches and Continuous Release Technology a Big Deal to Parkinson's?

May 2010
Is the PD SURG Trial Another Surge Forward for DBS Therapy?

April 2010
Cycling in PD in Those Who Can’t Walk: Is it Possible?

March 2010
New iPS Stem Cells for PD: What Does it Mean?

February 2010
Time for Comprehensive Care Networks for PD

January 2010
Is Parkinson's Disease a Prion Disease?

December 2009
Parkinson's Disease Linked to Gaucher's Disease

November 2009
Brain Cells Keep Time Stamps: Implications for Parkinson's Disease Therapies

October 2009
Is it Safe to Have an MRI with a DBS in Place?

September 2009
Take Care of Your Bones as They Are Affected in Parkinson's Disease (Even in Men)

August 2009
Is it Time to Start Paying Attention to Pain Symptoms in Parkinson's Disease Patients?

July 2009
Glutathione Fails to Demonstrate Significant Improvement in PD Symptoms

June 2009
Keeping an Eye on Trials Important to the Parkinson's Disease Patient

May 2009
Increased Risk of Melanoma in Parkinson's Disease

April 2009
Finally a DBS Expert Consensus Statement Aimed at Their True Customers: The Patients

March 2009
Pesticides and Environmental Exposure in Parkinson's disease: Should We Stay Away From the Stink Truck?

February 2009
Is Exercise Effective Treatment and Protection Against PD?

January 2009
Why are Transplant Trials Struggling to Succeed in the Treatment of PD?

December 2008
Are Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors Disease Modifying or Neuroprotective in PD?

November 2008
Update on Gene Therapy for Parkinson's Disease

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Each month, we will feature a new column by NPF's National Medical Director, Dr. Michael Okun, on the latest developments in Parkinson's disease research. Read the latest "What's Hot in PD?" below.

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