News Release

New collaborative care model offers help for patients with mental health need

Addressing common challenges in the implementation of collaborative care for mental health: The Penn integrated care program

Peer-Reviewed Publication

American Academy of Family Physicians

Members of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and its health system developed and implemented a new model of collaborative care called The Penn Integrated Care (PIC) program. PIC includes a resource center to support intake, triage and referral management and collaborative care services in primary care practices. PIC was created to increase access to and engagement with mental health professionals to improve mental and physical health outcomes. Primary care physicians were able to refer patients with any mental health symptom or condition to PIC. In 12 months, 6,124 unique patients were referred from eight primary care clinics to either the PIC Resource Center or were connected with a mental health professional. Most were triaged to collaborative care or specialty health care with active referral management.

Among patients enrolled in collaborative care, the mean length of treatment was 7.2 encounters over 78 days. Remission of symptoms was achieved by almost 33 percent of patients with depression and almost 40 percent of patients with anxiety. Stakeholders viewed the program favorably. Primary care physicians perceived they were providing patients with higher quality care, and patients appreciated having someone to talk to in addition to, or instead of, receiving a medication prescription. Results provide insight into a model for launching and implementing collaborative care to meet the needs of a diverse group of patients who have a full range of mental health conditions often seen in primary care.


Addressing Common Challenges in the Implementation of Collaborative Care for Mental Health: The Penn Integrated Care Program Courtney Benjamin Wolk, PhD, et al University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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