Getting Your Team and Your Practice On Board with Behavioral Health

August 16, 2022

Isolation and quarantines during the pandemic have led to a growing need for behavioral health care. As the pandemic woes ease, now is the time to look at incorporating or updating behavioral health services in your practice. Among the benefits are the ability to promote the overall health of patients and the care team, close treatment gaps, enhance patient access, reduce stigmas, increase positive outcomes, and improve both patient and physician/care team satisfaction.

The first steps to take include:

  • Identifying the best approach to behavior health integration for your organization
  • Reframing this as an opportunity to reduce inefficient utilization of primary care
  • Considering how telehealth technologies can support behavioral health efforts and enable comprehensive and accessible person-centered care

Next, it is important to determine what preparation, training, and/or qualifications are required for physicians and staff. What additional skills, training, and/or certifications will they need? Make sure everyone has the capabilities and competencies to provide the behavioral health services you offer. Give team members an opportunity to suggest any information, guidance, or education they need to feel confident in their roles. Later on, make sure everyone has ongoing access to the up-to-date resources, tools, and research they need to say current.

It is important to create a culture where behavioral health is embraced as an important part of overall health care. There should be a shared commitment to training on best practices, implementation of new procedures, and understanding patient engagement. It also will be significant to identify team leaders to champion the effort and be accountable for integration and training processes.

Of course, this isn’t a one-and-done process. Be prepared to continue to set goals, tweak processes, and make updates as appropriate. Track progress and celebrate milestones, but also realize that any behavioral health efforts, however small, can have a significant impact on your patients.

Access an American Medical Association checklist on BHI in Private Practice.