Health Plans Struggle to Report on Depression Quality Measures That Require Clinical Data

Acad Pediatr. 2022 Apr;22(3S):S133-S139. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2021.09.022. Epub 2021 Oct 11.


Objective: Depression quality measures aligned with evidence-based practices require that health care organizations use standardized tools for tracking and monitoring patient-reported symptoms and functioning over time. This study describes challenges and opportunities for reporting 5 HEDIS measures which use electronic clinical data to assess adolescent and perinatal depression care quality.

Methods: Two learning collaboratives were convened with 10 health plans from 5 states to support reporting of the depression measures. We conducted content analysis of notes from collaborative meetings and individual calls with health plans to identify key challenges and strategies for reporting.

Results: Health plans used various strategies to collect the clinical data needed to report the measures, including setting up direct data exchange with providers and data aggregators and leveraging data captured in health information exchanges and case management records. Health plans noted several challenges to reporting and performance improvement: 1) lack of access to clinical data sources where the results of patient-reported tools were documented; 2) unavailability of the results of patient-reported tools in usable data fields; 3) lack of routine depression screening and ongoing assessment occurring in provider practices.

Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate ongoing challenges in collecting and using patient-reported clinical data for health plan quality measurement. Systems to track and improve outcomes for individuals with depression will require significant investments and policy support at the point of care and across the healthcare system.

Keywords: adolescent depression; electronic clinical data; perinatal depression; quality measures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / therapy
  • Depressive Disorder* / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care*
  • Quality of Health Care
  • United States