Applying implementation science in mental health services: Technical assistance cases from the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) network

Heather J. Gotham, Janet R. Cummings, Joni N. Dolce, Benjamin Druss, Kenneth J. Gill, Sarah L. Kopelovich, Todd Molfenter, Jonathan R. Olson, Felicia Benson, Lydia Chwastiak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Critical gaps exist between implementation of effective interventions and the actual services delivered to people living with mental disorders. Many technical assistance (TA) efforts rely on one-time trainings of clinical staff and printed guidelines that alone are not effective in changing clinical practice. The Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) Network uses implementation science to accelerate the use of evidence-based practices (EBPs), improve performance, and bring about systems-level change. Method: Four case examples illustrate how MHTTCs employ the Exploration-Preparation-Implementation-Sustainment (EPIS) implementation framework and intensive implementation strategies to educate clinicians, manage change, and improve processes. These examples include implementing motivational interviewing, cognitive-behavioral therapy for people with psychosis, strategies to decrease the no show rate for virtual appointments, and school mental health systems development. Results: From Preparation through Sustainment, MHTTCs successfully employed implementation strategies including learning communities, audit and feedback, and coaching to bring about change. Each project attended to inner and outer contexts to eliminate barriers. The examples also show the benefit of integrating process improvement alongside implementation. Conclusions: The MHTTCs are a model for using implementation science to design technical assistance that leads to more successful practical execution of EBPs; thus reducing the gap between research and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
Volume75
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Keywords

  • Implementation
  • Mental health services
  • Technical assistance

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