BACKGROUND: Recent studies have shown that integrated behavioral health services for older adults in primary care improves health outcomes. No study, however, has asked the opinions of clinicians whose patients actually experienced integrated rather than enhanced referral care for depression and other conditions. METHOD: The Primary Care Research in Substance Abuse and Mental Health for the Elderly (PRISM-E) study was a randomized trial comparing integrated behavioral health care with enhanced referral care in primary care settings across the United States. Primary care clinicians at each participating site were asked whether integrated or enhanced referral care was preferred across a variety of components of care. Managers also completed questionnaires related to the process of care at each site. RESULTS: Almost all primary care clinicians (n = 127) stated that integrated care led to better communication between primary care clinicians and mental health specialists (93%), less stigma for patients (93%), and better coordination of mental and physical care (92%). Fewer thought that integrated care led to better management of depression (64%), anxiety (76%), or alcohol problems (66%). At sites in which the clinicians were rated as participating in mental health care, integrated care was highly rated as improving communication between specialists in mental health and primary care. CONCLUSIONS: Among primary care clinicians who cared for patients that received integrated care or enhanced referral care, integrated care was preferred for many aspects of mental health care.
- Health knowledge, attitudes, practice
- Health services for the aged
- Primary health care
- Professional practice
- Substance-related disorders/therapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Family Practice