Screening women for depression and psychosocial risk during the perinatal period is recognised best practice. Screening by current pen and paper methods can be time consuming, and prone to scorer error. The lack of readily available translated versions of screening tools also excludes many women from different cultures.
To evaluate a perinatal mental health digital screening platform, iCOPE. The trial was conducted in a community maternal and child health setting in Melbourne, Australia.
A descriptive, cohort design was used. All women attending the urban clinic were invited to complete their routine perinatal screening on the digital platform, designed to automate score calculations and produce instant clinical and client reports whilst collecting data in real time. Screening included the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and psychosocial risk questions in line with current national clinical guidelines. Functionality of iCOPE was assessed according to duration of screening, completion rates, accuracy of reporting and level of engagement by women.
During the trial, 144 screens were performed. The mean screening time was 6.7 min (SD=3.78). Most (65.7% n=94) women took between 3 and 6 min. Mean EPDS score was 7.2 with 16% (n=23) scoring 13 or more. The accuracy of reports was 100% and screening completion rate was 99.3%. Many women (81.3%) requested a copy of their personal report.
The iCOPE platform was efficient in terms of screening time, scoring accuracy, and engagement of women. The automated production of tailored client and clinical reports enabled screening outcomes to be instantly communicated to women and health professionals. The collection of data in real time facilitated the monitoring of screening rates and evaluation of outcomes by clinicians and service managers.