Dates of Program: August 2002 through October 2008. The report describes spread and adaption since that time.
Field of Work: Integrating behavioral health care into primary care practices
Problem Synopsis: Four unhealthy behaviors—tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol consumption—are the leading causes of preventable disease, disability, and premature death in the United States each year. Spending on heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions linked to them accounts for up to 70 percent of U.S. health care costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Clinicians on the front lines of health care are uniquely positioned to influence health-related behavior among their patients.
Results of the Funded Work: Prescription for Health funded 22 practice-based research networks to (1) deliver behavioral health care in primary care practices; (2) to investigate what can and does happen in front-line medical care; and (3) to connect research, clinical practice, and health care policy.
Models developed under Prescription for Health helped to pioneer the integration of behavioral health assessments into primary care practices in the United States. Although behavioral health assessments have yet to become commonplace in all primary practices, health systems have begun to embrace and adapt this initiative both nationally and internationally.
Prescription for Health was among the first programs to design models to help primary care physicians target multiple unhealthy behaviors at one time. The models were designed with behavior change at their core by asking (a) can practice based research networks integrate behavioral health interventions and (b) can primary care practices influence unhealthy behaviors. Read the Program Results Report for more information on the program.