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The Impact on Health and Cost Outcomes of Online Training in Integrated Care for Behavioral Health Professionals

Objective

Examine the impact of online training in integrated care for behavioral health professionals on patient health and cost outcomes.

 

Background

Behavioral health patients often suffer from multiple untreated chronic illnesses such as diabetes, and obesity. Poor health habits such as sedentary behavior, unhealthy diets, smoking, and substance abuse exacerbate these health conditions, costing many patients their lives and costing the health care system greatly. Integrated care coordinates behavioral health, primary care, and substance abuse services in one system, increasing provider awareness and competency in identifying and treating the multiple and complex needs of patients with such comorbidities. This study will investigate the impact of online training in major chronic diseases and integrating care for behavioral health professionals on health and cost outcomes.

 

Methods

The study will be a cluster (by site) randomized controlled trial with an intervention group and a control group. The intervention group will receive online training targeted to behavioral health professionals in the areas of diabetes, obesity, lifestyle behaviors, and communicating with medical providers. The control group will not receive the online training until the end of the study. For both groups, we will measure emergency department visits, hospitalizations, standards of care-- retinal, urinalisys, 2AIC, & lipid profiles, participant knowledge, and provider communication. We will collect analytic data for the patients with diabetes for a 3-month period prior to the intervention and for a 9-month period after the intervention. We will also include an examination of the impact on patient costs for the same time periods. We will collect knowledge testing and survey data at preintervention, postintervention, and at 6-month follow-up. We will address the questions of this study using logistic regression and analysis of variance procedures.