Mental health integration: rethinking practitioner roles in the treatment of depression: the specialist, primary care physicians, and the practice nurse.Ethn Dis. 2006 Spring; 16(2 Suppl 3):S3-37-43.ED
Although primary care provides the majority of mental health care, lack of time and documented economic benefit make it difficult for healthcare delivery systems to proactively implement effective treatment strategies for the growing disability of depression. Current care delivery models are inadequate and inefficient, leading to provider and consumer exhaustion, as well as significant gaps in care and poor outcomes. This publication describes a quality improvement pilot demonstration called "mental health integration" (MHI) that has been successful in realigning resources, enhancing clinical decision making, measuring the impact and building a business case to determine what actually is the value added for quality. Mental health integration (MHI) promotes the rethinking and retraining of traditional solo practitioner roles to new practitioner roles that facilitate partnership and effective communication as a means to help patients and families achieve a state of successful performance. Results describe the improvements in depression detection at a neutral or lower cost to the health plan. Recommendations are identified for building the business case for MHI quality in order to sustain improved outcomes and promote diffusion of the model outside of Intermountain Health Care (IHC) setting.