Send to

Choose Destination
Pediatrics. 2017 Dec;140(6). pii: e20162966. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-2966. Epub 2017 Nov 7.

Mental Health Screening Quality Improvement Learning Collaborative in Pediatric Primary Care.

Author information

Child Health Advocacy Institute and
Division of General and Community Pediatrics, Children's National Health System, Washington, District of Columbia.
Child Health Advocacy Institute and.
Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, District of Columbia.
Departments of Pediatrics and.
Psychiatry, and.
Center for Child and Human Development, Georgetown University, Washington, District of Columbia; and.
Division of General Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.



In the United States, up to 20% of children experience a mental health (MH) disorder in a given year, many of whom remain untreated. Routine screening during annual well visits is 1 strategy providers can use to identify concerns early and facilitate appropriate intervention. However, many barriers exist to the effective implementation of such screening.


A 15-month quality improvement learning collaborative was designed and implemented to improve screening practices in primary care. Participating practices completed a survey at 3 time points to assess preparedness and ability to promote and support MH issues. Monthly chart reviews were performed to assess the rates of screening at well visits, documentation of screening results, and appropriate coding practices.


Ten practices (including 107 providers) were active participants for the duration of the project. Screening rates increased from 1% at baseline to 74% by the end of the project. For the 1 practice for which more comprehensive data were available, these screening rates were sustained over time. Documentation of results and appropriate billing for reimbursement mirrored the improvement seen in screening rates.


The learning collaborative model can improve MH screening practices in pediatric primary care, an important first step toward early identification of children with concerns. More information is needed about the burden placed on practices and providers to implement these changes. Future research will be needed to determine if improved identification leads to improved access to care and outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center