Successfully Integrating Behavioral Health in Primary Care Settings Requires Teamwork

Frank DeGruy, M.D., M.S.F.M., has been a leading advocate of integrating behavioral health into primary care settings. Successfully integrated health care relies on the teamwork of three professionals: primary care clinicians, behavioral health clinicians, and care managers/coordinators. To address both the physical and mental health needs of patients, this team must work with patients to address issues, solve problems, and implement effective solutions to improve health outcomes and satisfaction.

This holistic care approach works best when the care team communicates well, maximizes individuals’ strengths and styles, and negotiates leadership roles over time to best target various elements of a care plan. The AHRQ Academy’s Lexicon explains commonly used words in the integrated field to help improve communication. Also, the Community is a forum in which users can discuss the successes, failures, and challenges of integration.