Research Topic

Real-World Implementation of the Biopsychosocial Approach to Healthcare: Pragmatic Approaches, Success Stories and Lessons Learned

About this Research Topic

The biopsychosocial approach to healthcare is one that systematically considers biological, psychological, and social factors and their interactions. It has been described both as a framework for understanding health and illness, as well as a guidepost for delivering care that incorporates medical, mental health and social services. The biopsychosocial approach has been widely taught in clinical training programs, such as medical and graduate schools, in order to bring attention to the interaction between multiple factors that can affect health and lead to illness. Yet, pragmatic approaches to integrating care across the biological, psychological, and social domains of health are more elusive. Simultaneously considering three domains of health that are often functionally separated within health systems (i.e. due to conceptual as well as funding and reimbursement structures) presents innumerable challenges. As health care clinicians become increasingly aware of the importance of the social determinants of health, it is an opportune time to readdress what is meant in the real world by the biopsychosocial approach. By bringing together publications across the fields of psychiatry, psychology, medicine, sociology, anthropology, nursing and primary care, this issue will build a basis for future research that will further advance methods for eliciting, incorporating and integrating services that address the multiple domains of health.

This topic is intended to provide a platform for the description, evaluation and implementation of real-world, biopsychosocial approaches to healthcare delivery. Priority will be given to papers that describe interprofessional collaboration and/or person- and family-oriented approaches to addressing the biological, psychological, and social health domains in clinical settings. Specific emphasis should be placed on the relational aspects of care delivery, such as interpersonal communication and role differentiation as it applies to patients, families, and clinicians from different disciplines working together towards a common goal. In addition, this Research Topics will target innovative health services solutions to integrating care across the biological, psychological, and social domains of health. We welcome the following submission formats: original quantitative or qualitative research, topical reviews, perspectives, and case studies in the areas of comorbid medical and psychiatric disease, chronic disease and stress, eating disorders and obesity, functional/somatoform syndromes (e.g. irritable bowel syndrome, disorders of the brain-gut-interaction), chronic pain, psycho-cardiology, and psycho-oncology.

Questions this topic may help answer include: What characterizes a biopsychosocial approach to health and illness? How do patients understand their health in a biopsychosocial construct? What other domains should be included in the biopsychosocial approach (e.g. spiritual, cultural, etc.)? What impact does addressing biopsychosocial needs have on clinician wellbeing and patient trust? How are health systems supporting innovative and collaborative biopsychosocial approaches to health and illness? How does working in interprofessional and interdisciplinary teams facilitate and optimize applying the biopsychosocial approach in the real world, with real impact?


Keywords: biopsychosocial approach, implementation, interdisciplinary care, psychosomatic medicine, clinical care, mental health, integrated care


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The biopsychosocial approach to healthcare is one that systematically considers biological, psychological, and social factors and their interactions. It has been described both as a framework for understanding health and illness, as well as a guidepost for delivering care that incorporates medical, mental health and social services. The biopsychosocial approach has been widely taught in clinical training programs, such as medical and graduate schools, in order to bring attention to the interaction between multiple factors that can affect health and lead to illness. Yet, pragmatic approaches to integrating care across the biological, psychological, and social domains of health are more elusive. Simultaneously considering three domains of health that are often functionally separated within health systems (i.e. due to conceptual as well as funding and reimbursement structures) presents innumerable challenges. As health care clinicians become increasingly aware of the importance of the social determinants of health, it is an opportune time to readdress what is meant in the real world by the biopsychosocial approach. By bringing together publications across the fields of psychiatry, psychology, medicine, sociology, anthropology, nursing and primary care, this issue will build a basis for future research that will further advance methods for eliciting, incorporating and integrating services that address the multiple domains of health.

This topic is intended to provide a platform for the description, evaluation and implementation of real-world, biopsychosocial approaches to healthcare delivery. Priority will be given to papers that describe interprofessional collaboration and/or person- and family-oriented approaches to addressing the biological, psychological, and social health domains in clinical settings. Specific emphasis should be placed on the relational aspects of care delivery, such as interpersonal communication and role differentiation as it applies to patients, families, and clinicians from different disciplines working together towards a common goal. In addition, this Research Topics will target innovative health services solutions to integrating care across the biological, psychological, and social domains of health. We welcome the following submission formats: original quantitative or qualitative research, topical reviews, perspectives, and case studies in the areas of comorbid medical and psychiatric disease, chronic disease and stress, eating disorders and obesity, functional/somatoform syndromes (e.g. irritable bowel syndrome, disorders of the brain-gut-interaction), chronic pain, psycho-cardiology, and psycho-oncology.

Questions this topic may help answer include: What characterizes a biopsychosocial approach to health and illness? How do patients understand their health in a biopsychosocial construct? What other domains should be included in the biopsychosocial approach (e.g. spiritual, cultural, etc.)? What impact does addressing biopsychosocial needs have on clinician wellbeing and patient trust? How are health systems supporting innovative and collaborative biopsychosocial approaches to health and illness? How does working in interprofessional and interdisciplinary teams facilitate and optimize applying the biopsychosocial approach in the real world, with real impact?


Keywords: biopsychosocial approach, implementation, interdisciplinary care, psychosomatic medicine, clinical care, mental health, integrated care


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

09 April 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

09 April 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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