Implementation of the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-Item (GAD-7) Screening Tool in a Mental Health Outpatient Clinic
School of Nursing
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
GAD-7 screening tool measurement-based care, generalized anxiety disorder, GAD-7 screening tool and guidelines, GAD prevalence, the use of GAD-7 tool across the life span, uphold the standard of care
Gang, Ella Bosunglan, "Implementation of the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-Item (GAD-7) Screening Tool in a Mental Health Outpatient Clinic" (2022). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4047.
Purpose: The prevalent disorder known as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) can have various negative consequences. GAD harms individuals, families, communities, and society as a whole. People with GAD frequently experience a crippling decrease in their physical and mental health. When generalized anxiety disorders are combined with the pressures of pre-existing medical conditions, the quality of life can be significantly impacted. GAD severely impairs social and functional functioning, resulting in frequent clinic appointments, doctor shopping, emergency room visits, high costs from family and employer treatment, and increased costs for global healthcare spending. Proper diagnosis is essential to effective treatment, and a lack of proper diagnosis can cause issues not only for the patients but for the MNC Wellness center as well. These include low productivity, increased costs, and poor cost management to the patient, affecting customer focus and satisfaction and decreasing customer loyalty and retention. A quality improvement project was designed to educate Psychiatric nurse practitioners at an outpatient mental health clinic to increase their knowledge and the frequency of use of the GAD-7 screening tool. Background: To fill in the gaps in anxiety evaluation and outpatient mental care procedures, the clinic adopted the frequency of use of the GAD-7 screening tool as a standard of care after the educational intervention. The GAD-7 screening tool is a reliable, validated screening tool for generalized anxiety disorder that enables prompt identification, the start of therapy, and referral to behavioral health services. When used regularly in outpatient mental health settings, the GAD-7 can reduce tertiary care interventions, cut costs, and improve patient outcomes by lowering anxiety-related dysfunction. The GAD-7 screening tool promotes measurement-based care, which improves diagnostic efficacy and timeliness while promoting high-quality care. Methods: Sixteen psychiatric nurse practitioners voluntarily agreed to participate in an in-service PowerPoint presentation to gain knowledge on the frequency of use of the GAD-7 screening tool. The principal investigator collects pre- and post-chart review data from the EHR. The pre-and post-chart review assessed existing and subsequent GAD-7 knowledge and frequency of use. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze and interpret the pre-and post-chart review scores. Results: The chart review shows improved knowledge and frequency of use of the GAD-7 screening tool. This enhanced their ability to assess patients for generalized anxiety disorder and proper diagnosis to uphold the standard of care. Conclusions: The education presentation effectively improved GAD-7 knowledge and the frequency of use of the GAD-7 screening tool among the psychiatric nurse practitioners at the MNC Wellness outpatient clinic. Increased provider knowledge enables successful GAD-7 implementation as part of routine, measurement-based care at the outpatient mental health clinic. Continued GAD-7 tool use will improve results for the clinic, reducing a significant gap in outpatient care delivery.