Faculty Advisor

Laura Reed, DNP, FNP-BC

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-28-2021


Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment | Diagnosis | Diseases | Endocrine System Diseases | Family Practice Nursing | Health and Medical Administration | Investigative Techniques | Medicine and Health Sciences | Mental and Social Health | Mental Disorders | Nursing | Nursing Administration | Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases | Other Mental and Social Health | Other Nursing | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing | Psychiatry and Psychology


Background Diabetes mellitus (DM) and depression are important comorbid conditions that can lead to more serious health outcomes. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) supports routine screening for depression as part of standard diabetes management. The PHQ2 and PHQ9 questionnaires are good diagnostic screening tools used for major depressive disorders in Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2). This quality improvement study aims to compare the rate of depression screening, treatment, and referral to behavioral health in adult patients with DM2 pre and post-integration of depression screening tools into the electronic health record (EHR).

Methods We conducted a retrospective chart review on patients aged 18 years and above with a diagnosis of DM2 and no initial diagnosis of depression or other mental illnesses. Chart reviews included those from 2018 or prior for before integration data and 2020 to present for after integration. Sixty subjects were randomly selected from a pool of 33,695 patients in the clinic with DM2 from the year 2013-2021. Thirty of the patients were prior to the integration of depression screening tools PHQ2 and PHQ9 into the EHR, while the other half were post-integration. The study population ranged from 18-83 years old.

Results All subjects (100%) were screened using PHQ2 before integration and after integration. Twenty percent of patients screened had a positive PHQ2 among subjects before integration, while 10% had a positive PHQ2 after integration. Twenty percent of patients were screened with a PHQ9 pre-integration which accounted for 100% of those subjects with a positive PHQ2. However, of the 10% of patients with a positive PHQ2 post-integration, only 6.7 % of subjects were screened, which means not all patients with a positive PHQ2 were adequately screened post-integration. Interestingly, 10% of patients were treated with antidepressants before integration, while none were treated with medications in the post-integration group. There were no referrals made to the behavior team in either group.

Conclusion There is no difference between the prevalence of depression screening before or after integration of depression screening tools in the EHR. The study noted that there is a decrease in the treatment using antidepressants after integration. However, other undetermined conditions could have influenced this. Furthermore, not all patients with positive PHQ2 in the after-integration group were screened with PHQ9. The authors are unsure if the integration of the depression screens influenced this change. In both groups, there is no difference between referrals to the behavior team. Implications to Nursing Practice This quality improvement study shows that providers are good at screening their DM2 patients for depression whether the screening tools were incorporated in the EHR or not. However, future studies regarding providers, support staff, and patient convenience relating to accessibility and availability of the tool should be made. Additional issues to consider are documentation reliability, hours of work to scan documents in the chart, risk of documentation getting lost, and the use of paper that requires shredding to comply with privacy.