Data Transparency Measure:
Depression Screening with Documented Follow-up Plan
What is depression?
Depression is a common mental disorder, characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness, and poor concentration. Depression can be long-lasting or recurrent, substantially impairing an individual’s ability to function at work or school or cope with daily life. 
UDS Definition 2017

Universe (Denominator):  

  • Patients aged 12 years and older with at least one medical visit during the measurement period
  • Note: Include patients who were born on or before December 31, 2004


  • Patients who: Were screened for depression on the date of the visit using an age-appropriate standardized tool and,
  • If screened positive for depression, a follow-up plan is documented on the date of the positive screen
  • Note: Include in the numerator, patients with a negative screening and those with a positive screening who had a follow-up plan documented.


  • Denominator Patients with an active diagnosis for depression or a diagnosis of bipolar disorder
  • Patients: Who refuse to participate
  • Patients: Who are in urgent or emergent situations where time is of the essence and to delay treatment would jeopardize the patient’s health status
  • Patients: Whose functional capacity or motivation to improve may impact the accuracy of results
Facts about depression:
The Screening for Mental Health (SMH)'s website reports that:
  • More than 19 million Americans suffer from depression, regardless of age, race or gender.
  • Fewer than half of those suffering from depression seek treatment.
  • More than 80 percent of all people with depression can be successfully treated through a combination of medication and psychotherapy.

Why Screen?

Fortunately, depression is a disorder that can be reliably diagnosed and, for most patients, treated within a primary care setting. Screening for depression and other mental illnesses is important because it allows health care providers to identify these illnesses early on, making treatment more effective. By routinely screening for depression, primary care teams can identify patients who show signs of depression and help them get access to the mental health services they may need. 
As primary care clinics continue to expand and adopt new roles and specialties within their practices, documentation is becoming increasingly important. Documenting follow-up plans for patients who show signs of depression helps ensure continuous care and keeps all members of the patient's care team informed about the plan for treatment.

 Have an article, workflow, tool or anything else that you would like to share with other clinics about this measure? Email the Data Transparency Team at .