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P16. A technology-based system to facilitate behavioral health screening for patients in rural and underserved areas

P16. A technology-based system to facilitate behavioral health screening for patients in rural and underserved areas


Purpose: Integrating behavioral health into primary care can increase patient access to treatments for mental health and substance use disorder, especially in rural and underserved areas. Our team partnered with a rural, underserved health system in New York, built an inter-professional collaborative practice within their primary care setting, and used technology to facilitate patient screening. Methods: A tablet-based screening system was developed and implemented for identification of behavioral health disorders within the primary care setting, supporting the integrated care process. This process ensures patients are screened, at most, once every 30 days. Further, the system is fully integrated with the electronic health record (EHR), with scores immediately stored directly in the patient’s EHR chart as discrete data. Results: A tablet-based screening system facilitates patient screening within the primary care clinic. With automated screening scheduling and the ability to track patient results, the care team is able to more effectively understand and manage behavioral health needs in the clinic. Immediate integration of data into the patient record helps providers more effectively prepare for exams, increasing the number of brief interventions and warm hand-offs occurring. Conclusions: A clear and easy to follow screening process, such as the one presented, is needed to be effective, widely accepted by patients and staff, and sustainable. The tablet-based screening system presented in this work, provides such a solution, effectively identifying patients with behavioral health conditions and facilitating the integrated care workflow.


Yu-Ping Chang
PhD, RN, FGSA, FIAAN, FAAN, University at Buffalo

Dr. Yu-Ping Chang is the Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Endowed Professor, Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship and an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing with the University at Buffalo. Dr. Chang has a Masters Degree in Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing and a PhD in Nursing. Her research focuses on integrating behavioral interventions, including motivational interviewing and mindfulness-based stress reduction, for substance abuse and mental health in primary care settings and evaluating the effects of intervention on various outcomes.

Sabrina Casucci
PhD, University at Buffalo

Dr. Casucci is a teaching assistant professor at the Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering University at Buffalo. Her research interests include health information technology and informatics, healthcare systems modeling, design and evaluation of healthcare interventions on patient and organizational outcomes, process and product quality improvement, simulation modeling and applications.

Nicole Roma
MPH, University at Buffalo

Ms. Roma is a project coordinator at the University at Buffalo School of Nursing. Ms. Roma has her Masters of Public Health with a concentration in Community Health and Health Behavior. She is currently working on a funded project that aims to integrate behavioral health services into a primary care setting.

Kurt Dermen
PhD, University at Buffalo

Dr. Dermen works to improve health promotion, prevention and treatment and to support dissemination of empirically supported practices. His primary focus has been on developing, training, supervising, evaluating, and disseminating motivational and behavioral interventions for substance use disorders and for health risk behavior in substance-using populations. His efforts have involved testing facilitation of AA involvement in treatment for alcohol use disorders, identifying factors that affect dissemination of a treatment innovation, developing and piloting a brief intervention to promote oral health in the context of treatment for alcohol use disorder, and testing the impact of tailoring treatment for alcohol use disorder on the basis of pre-treatment drinking. He is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers and has instructed and supervised trainees and experienced clinicians in motivational interviewing, cognitive-behavioral therapy, twelve-step facilitation treatment, and other empirically-supported approaches. He also has extensive experience in monitoring and objectively evaluating clinician adherence.

Christopher Barrick
PhD, University at Buffalo

Dr. Christopher Barrick is a licensed psychologist and works as a Research Assistant Professor and Senior Research Scientist with the Primary Care Research Institute at the University at Buffalo. His research interests focuses on looking at effective ways to disseminate evidence-based interventions into broad clinical practice and using technology to facilitate clinical substance abuse research.

Comments (10)

  1. suzanne alunni kinkle

    thank you great presentation

    1. Nicole Roma

      Thank you very much!

  2. Dennis Hagarty

    Thank you nicely done.

    1. Nicole Roma

      Thank you so much!

  3. Virginia Singer

    Fantastic. Thank you

    1. Nicole Roma

      Thanks for viewing our poster. We are glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Colette Le Bienvenu Melo

    I think tablet-based screening and medical history tools will become more common in coming years… There is some evidence to suggest that patients are more willing to disclose sensitive topics on a computerized screening tool than when asked face-to-face by healthcare workers.

    1. Nicole Roma

      I agree – they are becoming more and more common with the widespread use of technology. That’s really interesting. Thank you for sharing

  5. Colette Le Bienvenu Melo

    Thank you for sharing with us

    1. Nicole Roma

      You’re welcome! Thanks for taking a look.

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