Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care – Subject of an Innovations Exchange Interview with Dr. Benjamin Miller

Ben Miller 1

The integration of behavioral health and primary care was the topic of an interview with Benjamin Miller, PsyD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Innovations Exchange Team. Integrated primary care helps to improve the detection and treatment of mental health conditions in patients in primary care settings and, as Dr. Miller explains, can also result in significant cost savings and improved health outcomes. Dr. Miller provides two examples of exemplary models of integrated primary care where behavioral health providers are embedded into the primary care team to actively and more immediately address the behavioral health needs of their patients. He also mentions several efforts to further advance integrated primary care such as research examining the effectiveness of integration as well as AHRQ’s Academy for Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care, for which Dr. Miller is the principle investigator. He further explains how academic training in such disciplines as internal medicine and family practice is helping to advance integrated primary care by including more training in behavioral health and team-based care. Despite all of these efforts, Dr. Miller says there are still several barriers to integrated primary care that exist, such as silos in professional training and the in health care payment system. Dr. Miller asserts that we should continue to work to change the clinical, operational, and financial realms of the system for better health care quality and outcomes. He says,

“Integrated primary care is one of the most significant ways the health care system can achieve the goals of the 'triple aim’ to decrease costs, improve outcomes, and enhance patient experiences.”

 

Read the full interview:  http://www.innovations.ahrq.gov/content.aspx?id=3950