This kind of collegial setting will hopefully provide an opportunity for both sides to get to know one another and determine if there’s a fit for collaboration in the future. It’s also a great opportunity to hear how they would diagnose and treat a current patient’s behavioral health issues and better understand their diagnostic process.
Behavioral health integration may sound complicated, but it doesn’t have to be and a simple act of asking someone to lunch may be all that’s needed to get things started.
Do the Research
There is a financial and technological gap that exists between the physical and behavioral health communities. While there are efforts to bridge that gap through collaborative care models and incentives for behavioral professionals to embrace technology like their physician counterparts, the two communities still struggle to understand one another.
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On the part of the PCP, a practical way to further embrace fostering relationships with behavioral professionals is to study behavioral health as a whole through reading relevant online publications or attending conferences that focus on the topic.
Attending conferences, specifically, offers a number of benefits for PCPs, like obtaining continuing education credits. But if PCPs are able to attend conferences that include behaviorial professionals, they allow themselves to expand their knowledge on the issues while networking with professionals from around the country.
Greater knowledge about behavioral health issues will not only position PCPs to best treat their patients with mental illness, but can also improve their evaluation of their behavioral health colleagues in their search for optimal collaborative care relationships.
Integrated Care is Better Care
For years, the physical and behavioral health communities have been at odds without adequate understanding of each other or any productive way of providing collaborative care. But now with the behavioral health integration initiative, there’s never been a better opportunity for PCPs and behavioral health professionals to work together.
Creating and building relationships with these professionals may provide initial challenges for PCPs, but in the end, establishing collaborative care relationships is the best way to ensure that patients are receiving the best and most affordable care to improve their quality of life.