Implementing clinic-wide depression screening for pediatric diabetes: An initiative to improve healthcare processes.

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DOI: 10.1111/pedi.12886


OBJECTIVE: Youth with type 1 diabetes (T1D) endorse high rates of depressive symptoms, which can significantly impair self-management, glycemic control, and quality of life. Current guidelines recommend annual depression screening for all adolescents with T1D, but few models exist to implement screening procedures across clinics in this population. The primary aim of this project was to increase depression screening from 0% to 80% in four clinics, and to describe the structured quality improvement process to reach this goal.

METHODS: All patients aged 12 to 21 years old with T1D at four participating clinics in a Midwestern hospital system were eligible to participate. Using a two-stage process, patients were administered the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-2 plus PHQ-9 if positive) annually. Rates of depression screening by clinic site, rates of positive depression screens, social worker documentation of follow-up care, and associations with diabetes-related health outcomes were analyzed.

RESULTS: Over 2 years, average depression screening rates increased from 0% to 75% across all clinics, and 89% of patients with a positive screen met with a social worker for a targeted mental health assessment. At initial screening, 7.6% of patients screened positive for at-risk depressive symptoms on the PHQ-2 and from that group, 6.7% additionally screened positive on the PHQ-9.

CONCLUSIONS: Annual depression screenings were feasibly implemented across four clinics and the use of real-time data listening and automated processes facilitated successful implementation. Future directions include further automation, targeted training and billing mechanisms, dissemination to non-metropolitan clinics, and further assessment of depression screening tools for adolescents with T1D.

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Pediatric diabetes





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MeSH Keywords

Adolescent; Adult; Age of Onset; Ambulatory Care Facilities; Child; Depression; Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1; Female; Health Plan Implementation; Humans; Male; Mass Screening; Pediatrics; Program Evaluation; Quality Improvement; Surveys and Questionnaires; Young Adult


adolescent; depression; patient health questionnaire; type 1 diabetes mellitus

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