Survey Results: Medical and Behavioral Health Collaboration

  • October 15, 2020

    Premera conducts an annual provider survey about collaboration between primary care practitioners (PCPs) and behavioral health practitioners (BHPs). Screening for behavioral health disorders often happens during a primary care office visit and is a widely recognized standard of care.

    Our vendor, Pacific Market Research collects data through a telephone survey of PCPs in all service areas. In 2019, survey respondents were:

    • 93% MDs and DOs, a 41-percentage point increase from 2018
    • 1% ARNPs, a 30-percentage point decrease from 2018
    • 4% PAs, a 12-percentage point decrease from 2018

    Key Findings

    Use of electronic health records

    The survey found that 81% of PCPs use EHRs regularly. Of those PCPs, one-third PCPs use the same EHR as their BHP colleagues. Among those who use the same EHR, the majority use it to review their patient’s behavioral health records. Among the 70% of PCPs who don’t use the same EHR as their behavioral health colleagues, most are able to obtain behavioral health records from another source. In 2019, 14% more PCPs reported that they can get behavioral health records from other sources. 28% stated they had no access to behavioral health records from other sources.

    Most valuable information

    In 2019, PCPs reported that a patient treatment plan (49%), medication (46%), and diagnosis (42%) are the most valuable information they receive from BHPs. 51% reported they were satisfied with the information they received from BHPs.

    Areas for improvement

    When referring a patient for behavioral health, only 35% of PCPs stated they ‘always’ prepare a summary to accompany the referral, down 6 percentage points from 2018. After a patient has been seen by a BHP, or admitted to a facility for care, only about 50% of PCPs stated they receive a follow-up report. PCPs are more likely to receive a report from an inpatient facility (64%), than from a BHP (41%), or from an outpatient program (41%).

    We encourage all practitioners to collaborate to improve coordination of patient care and safety for patients accessing behavioral health services.

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