Year: 2018 Source: Psychological Services. (2018). Advance online publication. SIEC No: 20180723

Direct and indirect communication through the electronic medical record play a vital role in helping medical home primary care teams implement suicide prevention efforts. The purpose of this study is to examine how communication related to suicide prevention occurs among primary care team members working within a group of clinics in the Veterans Health Administration that has embedded integrated behavioral health providers (BHPs) and uses a shared electronic medical record. Using sequential exploratory mixed methods design, eight focus groups and 11 in-depth interviews with primary care providers (PCPs), nurses, and BHPs comprised the qualitative portion of the study, which was used to help develop an online questionnaire distributed to all primary care teams. Participants (n = 86) of the online survey included 15 BHPs, 32 PCPs, and 39 registered nurses. Qualitative data included asking a series of questions concerning how suicide prevention is accomplished in primary care. Themes concerning how providers communicate both directly and indirectly arose from the data and were used to develop questions for the survey to help further understand the data. Overall, the data suggested good team communication was occurring. However, there were opportunities to enhance communication through the use of huddles and enhancing communication from PCPs to other team members when the patient’s medical status changed. Direct communication was preferred, and finding ways to increase communication may be important to help decrease potential errors that may occur via diffusion of responsibility.