Health Literacy, Health Communications, Health Education
A Digital Approach to Advance the Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care
Allison Newsom (School of Public Health (UMD) Public Health Science Undergraduate Student)
Integration of behavioral health and primary care is a transformative method of healthcare delivery that supports the Triple Aim: improving patient experience of care, improving population health, and reducing per capita cost of healthcare. The Affordable Care Act and accompanying changes in healthcare financing will increase demand for behavioral health services; integrated care is one way to ensure that there is adequate access to services. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Academy for Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care (The AHRQ Academy) has become a “one-stop shop” set of resources for those interested in integrating care. By using digital media (an interactive website, Facebook, Twitter, Online literature collection and YouTube), The AHRQ Academy can help the field progress in a consistent and connected fashion. The goal of the Academy is to enable action among the many implementers interested in better integrating behavioral health and primary care. The Academy resources, products, tools, and connections among efforts in the field go a long way toward accomplishing this goal. Digital media allows for effective information dissemination and can assist in encouraging healthcare professionals to adopt integrated care into their practices. The AHRQ Academy has created a system for developing and sharing digital content that ensures a consistent, reliable message across all communication channels, which is particularly important for federal agencies. The AHRQ Academy uses analytics from Google, Facebook, and Twitter to monitor and record the impact of its digital media efforts. The data indicate that digital media is an effective tool for sharing information with healthcare professionals and creating system change by promoting adoption of integrated care principles.
Importance to public health: