What Do We Mean by "Behavioral Health Integrated with Primary Care"?

In this emerging field, like others, it is important to develop shared language that enables communication and collaboration across sites, disciplines, and time. The Academy’s Lexicon for Behavioral Health and Primary Care Integration (Lexicon) is a set of concepts and definitions developed by expert consensus to provide a functional definition of behavioral health integration as implemented in actual practice settings. This consensus Lexicon enables effective communication and concerted action among clinicians, care systems, health plans, payers, researchers, policymakers, business modelers, and patients working for effective, widespread implementation on a meaningful scale.

Journey Toward a Lexicon: The original version of the Academy’s Lexicon was developed through an Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ) small conference grant in 2009 to develop a A National Agenda for Research in Collaborative Care. Through the planning process for that meeting, it was clear that the experts used the same words to refer to different concepts or practices and struggled to communicate effectively. After the meeting’s pilot work to develop a shared understanding, participants agreed that the Lexicon was an important, even critical, advancement for the field but that it needed further refinement. To that end, AHRQ funded an R-13 grant that enabled C.J. Peek and the University of Minnesota to collaborate with the Academy’s National Integration Advisory Council (NIAC) to further refine the Lexicon. The current lexicon is the result of that effort.

The Lexicon opens with an Executive Summary that gives the reader an overview of what is to follow. Subsequent pages expand and clarify the content, including an appendix with a Glossary of common terms. The Executive Summary is available separately, as is the Journey Toward a Lexicon story.

An early application of the Lexicon was to use the same functional domains to create a performance framework for the Atlas of Integrated Behavioral Health Care Quality Measures.

Derivative applications or tools