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The separation between behavioral services and traditional medicine is increasingly being seen as counterproductive on personal and societal levels. Despite this, there has been little research examining how integrated models blending mental and physical health services could be implemented. The literature revealed that behavioral interventions have been incorporated into traditional medical treatments, but this often has been piecemeal in nature and has yielded equivocal results. This study examined the assertion that effective integration between behavioral and medical services will increase the standard of care for the patient. Integration in this study was accomplished by colocating a psychologist on the primary care unit, implementing formal behavioral screening, and ongoing consultations between primary care and psychological/psychiatric providers. Data obtained from 15 medical providers pre and post implementation examined if there would be an increase in the number of behavioral discussions between patients and providers, and the number of behavioral referrals generated. Also, data was examined to determine if there would be a drop in the number of emergency room and psychiatric admissions related to these provider's patients. A repeated measures ANOVA showed a significant increase in mental health discussions and referrals by providers for their patients post intervention. With integrated services, positive social change for patients could be realized in decreased stigma associated with mental health issues, less personal distress, and the ability to better manage daily demands. There will be positive societal results with increased productivity in the workplace and relief from the burdens of increased healthcare utilization associated with comorbid behavioral and medical issues.
Moritz, Dean, "The effects of an integrated behavioral health initiative on the behavior of providers in an Ob/Gyn primary care clinic" (2009). Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies. 681.