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Use of the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale to Facilitate Differential Diagnosis at Acute Inpatient Admission

J Clin Psychiatry 2001;62(4):304-312

Background: The advent of managed care has necessitated strategies for quickly and accurately diagnosing psychiatric disorders. The aim of the present study was to ascertain whether the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale-Anchored (BPRS-A) would be a useful adjunct to more traditional diagnostic strategies at acute inpatient admission.

Method: Using a sample of 207 inpatients admitted during an 8-month index period, we examined the utility of the BPRS-A in predicting whether patients were more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression (DSM-IV).

Results: Discriminant function analyses were used to correctly predict 68%, 60%, and 74% of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression, respectively. The main predictors of diagnostic category, in descending order, were BPRS-A depressed mood item, BPRS-A positive symptoms scale, BPRS-A excitement item, BPRS-A guilt feelings item, BPRS-A mannerisms and posturing item, and number of previous episodes.

Conclusion: As efforts are directed toward continuous quality improvement within mental health settings, an emphasis must be placed on improving the efficiency and accuracy of diagnostic procedures. The BPRS-A shows promise as a time-efficient assessment instrument that may be useful in facilitating differential diagnosis at inpatient admission and may increase the likelihood that efficacious prerelease interventions and appropriate aftercare services are implemented.