Implementation Guide

Identify Your Champions

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An effective Collaborative Care program starts with an Implementation Leader and Planning Team who support the overall transition to Collaborative Care. This includes leading pre-launch planning activities, coordinating training activities, and facilitating and monitoring program implementation post-launch.

Implementation Resources


Identify Implementation Leader

It's extremely useful to identify someone with responsibility for leading and facilitating implementation of your Collaborative Care initiative. This person will lead pre-launch planning activities, coordinate training activities, and facilitate and monitor program implementation post-launch. This person is critical to the success of the implementation, so it's worthwhile to spend some time deciding who best fits this role. Keep in mind the following:

The Implementation Leader needs to:

  • Have authority to allocate the time and resources needed to plan and launch the program;
  • Have authority over the areas that will be affected by changes to clinical and administrative systems and practices or have the explicit support of leaders of these areas;
  • Coordinate communication internally (senior leadership, Board of Directors, staff, etc) and externally (patients)
  • Support implementation of evidence-based practices that have been proven to improve identification and effective treatment of depression in primary care settings;
  • Drive the project, ensuring that organization is meeting targets and timelines;
  • Facilitate Team Building process, including development of detailed implementation plan;
  • Ensure collection of data to monitor metrics of implementation success and take responsbility for making program adjustments, as necessary;
  • Facilitate the participation of necessary personnel in training and technical assistance activities.

Identify Planning Team

The first job of the 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:

PCP Champion
Primary Care Providers are critical to the success of Collaborative 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 Collaborative 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 the Team Building Process and development of specific implementation plans. He/she will encourage their colleagues to participate in planning, training and other activities, as appropriate. The PCP Champion will also participate in review of post-launch metrics to evaluate program success and help brainstorm solutions to areas of the program that need adjustment.

Care Manager/Behavioral Health Manager Champion
Like the PCP Champion, the Behavioral Health Care Manager Champion is supportive of implementing collaborative care and can influence other behavioral health care managers. Examples of behavioral health care managers include registered nurse, licensed psychologist, or licensed social worker. As part of the Planning Team, he/she will participate in and often lead the Team Building process.

Psychiatric Consultant Champion
The Psychiatric Consultant Champion is supportive of implementing collaborative care and can influence other psychiatric consultants. Examples of Psychiatric Consultant can include individuals experienced in consultation-liaison psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, or primary-care-based mental health care.