Patient outcomes associated with primary care behavioral health services: A systematic review

Kyle Possemato, Emily M. Johnson, Gregory P. Beehler, Robyn L. Shepardson, Paul King, Christina L. Vair, Jennifer S. Funderburk, Stephen A. Maisto, Laura O. Wray

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Objective: This systematic review focused on Primary Care Behavioral Health (PCBH) services delivered under normal clinic conditions that included the patient outcomes of: 1) access/utilization of behavioral health services, 2) health status, and 3) satisfaction. Method: Following PRISMA guidelines, comprehensive database searches and rigorous coding procedures rendered 36 articles meeting inclusion criteria. The principle summary measures of odd ratios or Cohen's d effect sizes were reported. Results: Due to significant limitations in the methodological rigor of reviewed studies, robust findings only emerged for healthcare utilization: PCBH is associated with shorter wait-times for treatment, higher likelihood of engaging in care, and attending a greater number of visits. Several small, uncontrolled studies report emerging evidence that functioning, depression, and anxiety improve overtime. There was no evidence of greater improvement in patient health status when PCBH was compared to other active treatments. The limited available evidence supports that patient satisfaction with PCBH services is high. Conclusions: The implementation of PCBH services is ahead of the science supporting the usefulness of these services. Patient outcomes for PCBH are weaker than outcomes for Collaborative Care. More rigorous investigations of patient outcomes associated with PCBH are needed to allow for optimization of services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • Access
  • Functioning
  • Primary care behavioral health
  • Satisfaction
  • Utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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