Few adolescents with depression receive treatment in accordance with national guidelines. This quality improvement project took place in 11 primary care practices with the primary aim of increasing the percentage of teens with depression who received follow-up care within 6 weeks of diagnosis and within 3 months, once stable.
The primary strategy was external practice facilitation for 12 months. The change process used goal setting and plan-do-study-act cycles to identify and implement change ideas. A preanalysis and postanalysis was completed to evaluate process change, provider confidence, and patient improvement.
Randomly selected samples of 199 and 217 charts of teens newly diagnosed with depression were reviewed before and after the intervention, respectively. Chart data for these measurements was provided by 10 and 9 practices, respectively. The percentage of patients with follow-up care within 6 weeks after diagnosis increased from 40% to 81% (P < .001), the percentage with a follow-up visit within 3 months once stable increased from 30% to 60% (P < .001), and the percentage in remission at 6 months increased from 7% to 21% (P < .001). Providers reported increased confidence to diagnose and manage depression, assess severity, provide pharmacotherapy, and educate families.
Practices improved follow-up care for teens with depression. In addition, providers experienced an improvement in their confidence to diagnose and manage depression. Working with a facilitator, each practice implemented standardized systems to provide effective care in the medical home, increase providers’ confidence to address this common problem, and improve patient outcomes.