AHRQ has prepared two documents in support of new research for the field of integration.
First, Future Research Needs for the Integration of Mental Health/Substance Abuse and Primary Care (2010) provides an overview of research needs for integration. Second, a National Agenda for Research in Collaborative Care (2011) is a collection of three papers that describe the creation of a research agenda for collaborative care.
Collaborative care is an emerging field that emphasizes the recognition and care of mental health problems in primary care settings and the effective collaboration of primary care and mental health clinicians. This type of integrated care is an important function of the patient-centered medical home (PCMH), and one avenue toward achieving PCMH goals for health, patient experience, and affordability. There appears to be significant opportunity to integrate care within the PCMH.
As the AHRQ-sponsored report, Integrating Mental Health Treatment Into the Patient-Centered Medical Home (2010) stated:
"Efforts to improve the quality and efficiency of primary care have recently focused on the concept of the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH). Given that primary care serves as a main venue for providing mental health treatment, it is important to consider whether the adoption of the PCMH model is conducive to delivery of such treatment. This paper identifies the conceptual similarities in and differences between the PCMH and current strategies used to deliver mental health treatment in primary care. Even though adoption of the PCMH has the potential to enhance delivery of mental health treatment in primary care, several programmatic and policy actions are needed to facilitate integration of high-quality mental health treatment within a PCMH."
However, with most emerging fields, additional research is needed to identify which particular functions or components of mental health and primary care integration lead to improved outcomes and add value in the PCMH.