Collaborative communication between psychologists and primary care providers

J Clin Psychol Med Settings. 2009 Mar;16(1):72-6. doi: 10.1007/s10880-009-9151-1. Epub 2009 Feb 22.


Psychologists frequently collaborate in the care of patients managed in primary care. Communication with a patient's primary care team is important to ensure coordination and continuity of care. The communication is far from seamless. Although The Health Information Privacy and Portability Act (HIPPA) is designed to promote sharing of clinical information while protecting patient confidentiality, unique problems arise when mental health records are included. Mental health records are subject to different regulations to protect the patient's confidentiality. Thus, what is communicated and how it will be accomplished are challenges. Further, psychologists and primary care providers often view documentation differently, resulting in different styles of documenting that may also impede coordinated care. Increasingly, health care systems are moving toward electronic medical records, creating greater opportunities for an integrated record. Improved communication through the record can keep other providers abreast of the mental health care being provided as well as suggestions they can use to reinforce the mental health care treatment plan.

MeSH terms

  • Confidentiality
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Documentation / methods
  • Electronic Data Processing
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
  • Health Personnel / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Language
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Organizational Culture
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Psychology, Clinical*
  • United States
  • Workforce