BATHE: An Approach to the Interview Process in the Primary Care Setting

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The American health care delivery system is undergoing a rapid and substantive change. Health care providers are now expected to depart from their traditional role of healers of the sick to a more comprehensive one of including maintenance of health as well. Incentives are being put in place to encourage physicians to interdict disease at its early, more curable stage and to detect and treat previously unrecognized or underrecognized conditions. Research indicates that there is a great need in the area of mental heath. In order for primary care practitioners to recognize patients who have mental health problems with some facility, it is recommended that they employ the BATHE technique for developing a psychosocial history. This technique will enable primary care practitioners to succinctly and efficiently uncover psychosocial problems while at the same time to lend support to patients as they attempt to come to grips with these issues.

J Clin Psychiatry 1997;58(suppl 3):3–6