Integrating Primary Care Services Into Psychiatric Care Settings: A Review of the Literature



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Objective: This review assesses the outcomes of integrating primary care medical services into psychiatric care settings.

Data Sources: PubMed, the Cochrane database, and PsycINFO were searched using the key words integrated care, family medicine, primary care, and internal medicine in combination with psychiatry or psychiatric clinic and ward to identify reports published between 1980 and December 2009 in English.

Study Selection: Four studies evaluating medical care services on a psychiatry ward or in a psychiatry clinic were found. Trials involving psychiatric services in primary care clinics (the medical-psychiatric model) were excluded.

Data Extraction: Data describing setting, patient population, intervention, measured outcomes, and discussion points were collected.

Data Synthesis: It was learned that several models of integrated care exist, and patients in these integrated groups received more preventive health measures and showed improved scores on the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short-Form Health Survey and Behavior and Symptom Identification Scale and reduced rates of specialist referral.

Conclusions: These data indicate that placing primary care physicians in psychiatric care settings improves health maintenance, care coordination, and satisfaction with nonpsychiatric medical care. Future studies should further address costs, the training of primary care physicians to deliver care in these settings, and whether this integrated model is more effective in specific populations such as those with schizophrenia.

Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2010;12(6):e1–e4

Submitted: February 20, 2010; accepted May 12, 2010.

Published online: November 18, 2010 (doi:10.4088/PCC.10r00971whi).

Corresponding author: Joseph M. Cerimele, MD, Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, One Gustave L Levy Pl, Box 1230, New York, NY 10029-6574 (

Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2010;12(6):e1-e4