Research Studies

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

Health and Human Services
Research Studies
Integrated Care


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

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M. Courtney Hughes PhD, MS

Senior Researcher, Relias

Lesley Manson Psy.D.

Integrated Behavioral Health Management and Practice Consulting, Clinical Assistant Professor, Arizona State University

Elise Valdes PhD, MS

Director of Research, Relias

Emaley McCulloch M.Ed., BCBA

Vice President, Relias Institute, Relias


Presented at the National Council for Behavioral Health's Annual Conference March 2018

Research Partner

Monarch, Arizona State University


Persons with both diabetes and mental illness have significantly worse health outcomes than persons with diabetes alone. Behavioral health professionals are in a good position to educate their clients about diabetes prevention and management, yet behavioral health professionals often have minimal understanding of diabetes. Method: Randomized control trial with 31 intervention group and 34 control group behavioral health professional participants. We examined the impact of online training and a skills checklist in integrated care and diabetes prevention and care maintenance for mentally ill individuals on behavioral health professionals’ knowledge and communication with medical providers. Results: Knowledge about integrated care and diabetes prevention and management significantly increased from pre- to post-intervention for the intervention group compared to the control group (p<.001). The knowledge increase was sustained three months after post-intervention (p<.001). There were no significant differences pre- to post-intervention for either group in self-reported measures of communication with medical providers. Ninety percent of the intervention group reported that the skills checklists were helpful. Discussion: An online training program with a skills checklist on the topic of integrated care and diabetes prevention and care maintenance for mentally ill persons may be effective in improving behavioral health professionals’ long-term knowledge of integrated care and diabetes. Completing skills checklists may help behavioral health professionals put integrated care and diabetes knowledge into practice. Organizations serving persons with mental illness should consider online integrated care and diabetes training programs as a strategy to help ensure their clients with diabetes are receiving recommended standards of care.