Date of Award
College of Nursing
Marie Vander Kooi
Background: Primary care providers are increasingly challenged with managing individuals with behavioral health needs. Evidence suggests that integrating behavioral health services into primary care can improve individual health outcomes and can improve access to behavioral health services.
Objectives: The purpose of this project is to evaluate key outcomes following the evidencebased integration of behavioral health services into a primary care practice.
Methods: Using the Collaborative Practice Model as the implementation model, the behavioral health leadership team added a licensed social worker to a primary care practice on a pilot basis. The social worker offers short-term solution-focused therapy, focusing on depression and anxiety, with psychiatry supporting medical decision-making though weekly systematic case review.
Results: Outcome measures suggested by the literature included monitoring of depression and anxiety (PHQ-9 and GAD-7 scores), measures of financial success, and patient experience scores for the pilot office pre- and post-implementation. There were significant improvements in depression (p = 0.0119) and anxiety (p = 0.004) after treatment. Financial performance did not meet budgeted goals. There was no significant difference in patient experience outcomes.
Conclusions: Integration following this model was clinically effective in treating depression and anxiety. The organization has expanded integration beyond the pilot sites and plans to integrate all of its primary care practices.
Vander Ark, David B., "Evaluation of the Integration of Behavioral Health Services into Primary Care" (2020). Doctoral Projects. 112.
Available for download on Thursday, April 27, 2023