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Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine


January 10, 2017 - As integrated primary care and behavioral healthcare services come to the forefront, healthcare organization leaders must establish strong EHR use to enable better care coordination between the two specialties, finds a study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

According to the research team, integrated primary and behavioral healthcare is increasing in popularity, both because it is better supported by value-based payment systems and because it delivers necessary treatment to those managing behavioral health disorders.

Sixty-seven percent of individuals with behavioral health disorders do not receive the care that they need, but when their care is integrated into the primary care setting, that issue typically improves.

“Most patients with BH conditions, including children, are seen in medical settings, most commonly primary care (PC), presenting the need and opportunity to replace separated systems of care that do not adequately meet the needs of patients with integrated, ‘whole-person’ care,” the researchers explained.

As integrated care models continue to emerge, the research team sought to identify best practices for their establishment and growth. To that end, the team conducted feedback interviews with 11 Colorado-based primary care practices integrating behavioral health into their workflows.

Following a three-year test period and retrospective qualitative interviews, the researchers gleaned five common themes: