Webcast: What Rural Primary Care Physicians Need to Know about Treating Patients with Mental Health Diagnoses

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2006
Project completed:
December 2007

According to the Institute of Medicine, research has shown that underlying behavioral health (i.e., mental health and/or substance abuse) issues account for up to 70 percent of all primary care visits. Primary care providers (PCPs) provide treatment for 75% of patients who receive any care for depression. Despite the fact that depression is common in rural areas as urban areas, rural doctors detect 50% less depression in their patients than their urban counterparts. It is critical that we understand the needs of PCPs working in rural and frontier areas if we want to maximize the use of a web cast training opportunity. We know that PCPs provide much of the mental health care in rural communities, but their training priorities on behavioral health topics from the PCP perspective has not been established. The information obtained by the needs assessment will inform the content of the web cast that will be targeted and aligned with PCP training requests. Training via distance learning technology that promotes collaborative care models in primary care is consistent with federal and state policy recommendations.