Digitally Driven Integrated Primary Care and Behavioral Health: How Technology Can Expand Access to Effective Treatment

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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Widespread implementation of integrated primary care and behavioral health is possible, but workforce shortages, competencies to deliver evidence-based approaches, and sufficient reimbursement are lacking. There are numerous telehealth solutions that could be utilized to assist with integration efforts that have the potential to be successfully used alone or in combination. This will require that the developers of such technologies understand the current evidence base for effective integration efforts and apply this knowledge to new solutions.

RECENT FINDINGS: Evidence-based models of integrated care such as the collaborative care model have a robust evidence base including studies that demonstrate effective delivery from remote locations. Technology solutions that can serve as practice extenders by performing some of the tasks, and can expand the competency of primary care providers to treat mild to moderate mental illness, have an emerging literature in the behavioral health arena that shows promise for integrating care. More widespread implementation of effective integrated primary care and behavioral health can be accomplished with the help of technology solutions that can address the problems of workforce shortages and competencies. Use of these technologies alone or in combination is a growing area of research and development and an untapped frontier that warrants further investigation.