• Article

Future research needs for evaluating the integration of mental health and substance abuse treatment with primary care

Research needs are many in the current health care environment. In this article, we describe a novel method developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Evidence-based Practice Center Program for pri- oritizing areas for future research. Using a recent- ly published systematic review as a foundation, investigators worked with a diverse group of 10 stakeholders to identify and prioritize research needs. We enumerate 13 high-priority research needs, as determined by stakeholders who repre- sented researchers, funders, health care providers, and patients and families, and discuss considerations for specific study designs. Our findings suggest that future research on inte- grating mental health and primary care should focus first on a) identifying methods of integrat- ing primary care into specialty mental health settings, b) identifying cross-cutting strategies for integration across multiple mental health diagnostic categories as opposed to a separate strategy for each diagnostic category, and c) examining the use of information technology for integrating mental and general medical health care. Other priorities for consideration include examining the economic and organizational sus- tainability of successful integration models, identifying dissemination methods for various settings, examining the business case for inte- gration as well as methods of payment, assessing the cost-effectiveness of integration, and identi- fying key components of successful strategies. The importance of sustainability and economic justification for integrated care strategies was a recurring theme in discussions with the stake- holders. The ability to sustain integrated care in everyday practice remains to be proved and will depend in part on the level of incentives and sup- port provided through payment system reform, as well as the ability of practices to provide care efficiently. (Journal of Psychiatric Practice 2013; 19:345–359)


Carey, TS., Crotty, KA., Morrissey, JP., Jonas, DE., Thaker, S., Ellis, AR., ... Viswanathan, M. (2013). Future research needs for evaluating the integration of mental health and substance abuse treatment with primary care. Journal of Psychiatric Practice, 19(5), 345-359. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.pra.0000435034.37685.ce