Identify Your Champions
An effective integrated care program starts with a Clinic Implementation Team to support the overall transition to a new care model. This includes leading pre-launch planning activities, coordinating training activities, and facilitating and monitoring program implementation post-launch.
Identify Implementation Leader
To prepare for the implementation of a new behavioral health integration strategy, such as Collaborative Care, it's helpful to form a Clinic Implementation Team (CIT). This team should be formed by a clinic implementation leader, typically a Clinic Manager, CEO, Behavioral Health Director, CMO, or similar. The CIT Lead should facilitate regular meetings of the implementation team and establishment of a shared vision, assist in hiring team members, and other pre-launch planning activities. Throughout post-launch, the CIT lead should oversee efforts toward program sustainment and quality improvement.
This person is critical to the success of the implementation, so it's worthwhile to spend some time deciding who best fits this role. For a full list of key characteristics and responsibilites associated with this role, see the CIT Lead Role Description resource.
Identify Clinic Implementation Team
The first job of the clinic implementation leader is to form a small core team to participate in planning, launching, and monitoring program implementation. This team should consist of the following members:
Primary Care Providers are critical to the success of integrated care. Therefore, it is essential that they have a voice in planning implementation. The best choice is a practicing PCP who is supportive of implementing integrated care and who can influence other PCPs in the organization. Examples of Primary Care Provider(s) include physicians, physician assistants and/or nurse practitioners. The PCP Champion will participate in team building and development of specific implementation plans. They will communicate changes and expectations between the implementation team and their PCP colleagues. See the PCP Champion Role Description for a thorough outline of the role.
Like the PCP Champion, the Behavioral Health Care Manager Champion is supportive of implementing integrated care and can influence other behavioral health care managers. Examples of behavioral health care managers include registered nurses, licensed psychologists, or licensed social workers. As part of the planning team, they will participate in and often lead the team building process.
The Psychiatric Consultant Champion is supportive of implementing integrated care and can influence other psychiatric consultants. Examples of psychiatric consultants can include individuals experienced in consultation-liaison psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, or primary-care-based mental health care.