Pilot Testing of Multiple Behavioral Health Screening Devices in the Primary Care Setting
AdvisorO'Donohue, William T.
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The United States’ healthcare system is currently the most expensive in the world. While there are many contributors to high healthcare costs, one of the major sources has been identified as comorbid behavioral health disorders. To address this, many healthcare systems are moving toward a more integrative approach that combines medical and behavioral health services in the same location. To ensure the success of these integrated care systems, the screening and detection of behavioral health concerns by medical providers has been the focus of much research. The purpose of this study was to pilot test two new behavioral health screening tools and examine how they influenced medical provider behavior in regards to detection, referral, and intervention of behavioral health concerns, as well as satisfaction of providers and participants who completed the screening tools. Two medical providers that operated in a community health center were recruited to use the screening tools in their practice for eight weeks. Data were collected for three time periods: a) one month prior to use of the screening tools, via electronic health records, b) during the eight weeks in which the screening tools were used, via self-reports and electronic health records, and c) for six weeks after the screening tools were discontinued, via self-reports and electronic health records. Results indicate that the screening tools had mixed results in regard to influencing provider behavior and satisfaction with the screening tools. Analyses suggest that behavioral health concerns may have been missed by medical providers, and that further investigation is needed within systems of care to better understand how medical providers respond to behavioral health concerns mentioned during an appointment.