Behavioral health screenings: 3 ways to incorporate into patient visits

Left undiagnosed and untreated, adult depression and alcohol use disorders present significant challenges to patients' wellbeing, according to a recent blog post on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service's Quality Improvement Organization Program website.

Given the health repercussions, here are three tips that the agency suggests for including behavioral health screenings in the primary care visit:

Don't disrupt the patient flow. Integrate behavioral health questions into the office visit, recommends Archie Hamilton, behavioral health manager at atom Alliance, a five-state initiative focused on improving healthcare quality, in the post.

Seek out resources. Scripted talking points for patient interactions, on-demand webinars and even small pocket cards to help score patients' behavioral health are helpful, according to Hamilton.

Dig deeper with patients. Instead of asking "Are you depressed, anxious or using drugs?" ask what's going on in your patient's life. Probe a bit deeper to get at any life stressors.

To learn more:
- read the blog post