The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) created the Academy for Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care (the Academy) to respond to the recognized need for a national resource and coordinating center for those interested in behavioral health and primary care integration. As behavioral health integration became more common, so did the demand to collect, analyze, synthesize, and issue actionable information that providers, policymakers, investigators, and consumers can readily use and apply.
The Academy works to expand the integration of behavioral health care and primary care to achieve the Triple Aim: “[improve] the experience of care, [improve] the health of populations, and [reduce] per capita costs of health care.” It has been found difficult, if not impossible, to achieve the Triple Aim using only the traditionally separate systems for behavioral health and primary care.
The Academy also addresses a fourth aim that others have suggested: to improve “the work life of health care providers, including clinicians and staff” or “the experience of providing care.” Provider satisfaction is a demonstrated outcome of integrated behavioral health. Finally, the Academy helps those who are trying to integrate behavioral health and primary care—and spreads what they learn to others.