projectsBest Practices in Integrated Behavioral Health

Best Practices in Integrated Behavioral Health

SUMMARY – Integrated behavioral health represents a seamless integration of mental health and primary care services, recognizing they are interdependent. Released in 2016, the Meadows Institute report, commissioned by St. David’s Foundation, offered guidance for effective IBH programs.

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The report provided a road map for providers, funders, and policymakers toward the implementation of IBH principles, describing the research to date as well as emerging ideas regarding the core components necessary for effective IBH care.

Among medical staff, IBH entails more routine attention to behavioral health, as well as skillful attention to behavioral aspects of what are typically considered “physical” disorders, such as insomnia, diabetes, obesity, and nicotine dependence.

IBH has created a new understanding of the overall health of people being served and offers the potential to extend health, wellness, and life expectancy.

Similarly, in specialty behavioral health settings that serve adults with serious mental illnesses, IBH has created a new understanding of the overall health of people being served and offers the potential to extend health, wellness, and life expectancy. IBH is helping providers and funders move past outdated understandings of health needs, intervention approaches, and limitations on the range of potential settings in which IBH can be successfully implemented.

The report outlined the core components of IBH, including:

  • Integrated organizational culture: Promotes the delivery of effective and efficient integrated care in all areas of administrative and clinical practice.
  • Population health management: Knowing the physical, mental, and social needs of the patient population being served in as much detail as possible across the full continuum of care.
  • Structured use of a team approach: Establishes a set of working relationships through which the health care team collaborates and coordinates on all aspects of health care.
  • IBH staff competencies: Requires staff to be specially trained in IBH principles.
  • Universal screening for physical and behavioral conditions: Just like blood pressure and body temperature are used to detect medical problems, behavioral health screening tools can detect vital signs related to mental health.
  • Integrated, person-centered treatment planning: Patients receiving IBH have only one treatment plan, which incorporates all physical and behavioral health conditions, treatment/recovery goals, and intervention plans.

Read the unabridged version of Best Practices in Integrated Behavioral Health or view the digest available above.

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