Patient screening for integrated behavioral health in adult primary care: A rapid review of effective procedures

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Family Medicine and Community Health; Center for Integrated Primary Care

Publication Date


Document Type



Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Behavioral Medicine | Health Psychology | Health Services Administration | Health Services Research | Integrative Medicine | Mental and Social Health | Primary Care | Psychiatry and Psychology


PURPOSE: Although many primary care clinics screen for behavioral health (BH) conditions using validated tools, it is not clear whether adult BH screening leads to better patient outcomes. Our objective was to determine the evidence base by reviewing effectiveness research for multiple strategies of BH screening in adult primary care identified in the Practice Integration Profile.

METHOD: We conducted five rapid reviews of effectiveness research supporting BH screening strategies cited in the Practice Integration Profile. Each rapid review was conducted using an adapted REAL (Rapid Evidence Assessment of the Literature) methodology and a standardized search tailored for each screening strategy to identify evidence related to BH screening in primary care.

RESULTS: The database search yielded 931 references. Following eligibility review and extraction, we evaluated data from 20 references examining five screening strategies. Results demonstrated limited support for all five strategies and high risk of bias within most studies. Outcomes associated with various BH screening strategies were rarely the focus of study.

CONCLUSIONS: There is an absence of robust, well-structured evidence supporting many of the BH screening strategies advocated for in primary care. Stakeholders may wish to understand how to ensure value when developing a robust screening program that will improve patient health outcomes. Future research should advance the science of BH screen selection, timing, and implementation by answering new questions about screening strategies.


behavioral medicine, delivery of health care, integrated, primary health care, rapid review, screening

DOI of Published Version



Martin MP, McEntee ML, Mullin D, Suri Y, van Eeghen C. Patient screening for integrated behavioral health in adult primary care: A rapid review of effective procedures. Fam Syst Health. 2022 Jun 2. doi: 10.1037/fsh0000700. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35653737. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Families, systems and health : the journal of collaborative family healthcare

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID