Improving Primary Care Behavioral Health Integration in an Academic Internal Medicine Practice: 2-Year Follow-Up

Am J Med Qual. 2021 Nov-Dec;36(6):379-386. doi: 10.1097/01.JMQ.0000735472.47097.a1.


This report details ongoing efforts to improve integration in the 2 years following implementation of the Primary Care Behavioral Health model at a general internal medicine clinic of an urban academic medical center. Efforts were informed by a modified version of the validated Level of Integration Measure, sent to all faculty and staff annually. At baseline, results indicated that the domains of systems integration, training, and integrated clinical practices had the greatest need for improvement. Over the 2 years, the authors increased availability of behavioral medicine appointments, improved depression screening processes, offered behavioral health training for providers, disseminated clinical decision support tools, and provided updates about integration progress during clinic meetings. Follow-up survey results demonstrated that physicians and staff perceived improvements in integration overall and in targeted domains. However, the main ongoing barrier to integration was insufficient behavioral health staff to meet patient demand for behavioral health services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Systems Integration*