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Web Tool to Disseminate Empirically-based Interventions to Community-Based Mental Health Settings

SBIR Phase I

Project Info

Project Description

NIMH
ID: R43MH086983-01
PI: DANIELLE SWICK, PHD, JANEY MCMILLEN, PHD
TERM: 09/09 – 05/11

Multiple psychological interventions for mental health problems in children and youth have established efficacy in research settings. However, empirically-based interventions (EBIs) are rarely used in everyday practice in community-based mental health settings, affecting the quality of services provided to the public. In instances in which EBIs are delivered in community settings, they often fail to achieve their intended outcomes. A growing body of literature indicates that quality of implementation is directly related to both the likelihood that an EBI will be adopted and sustained within the community mental health setting and the strength of its treatment effects. Quality implementation refers to the degree to which an intervention is delivered as intended, i.e., with fidelity to the treatment model. Three key areas have been found to directly impact the quality of EBI implementation: (1) training support for providers (including on-going implementation assistance); (2) structured, user-friendly resource materials; and (3) accountability tools for monitoring, tracking, and reporting fidelity to core intervention features.

To address this area of need, 3-C ISD researchers and information technology experts are currently developing a web tool titled the web-based dissemination toolbox (WDT) to support quality implementation of mental health EBIs in community settings. The WDT builds on 3-C-ISDs technological expertise to develop a flexible, scalable web tool. For the Phase I WDT prototype, the following suite of tools and website features will be built: (1) web-based training courses; (2) on-going implementation assistance tools (e.g., Q&As, Ask-the-Expert Help Desk, discussion board); (3) downloadable resources (e.g., intervention materials, newsletters); and (4) accountability tools (e.g., fidelity and progress reporting forms, real-time monitoring tools). The WDT will decrease costs (e.g., time, financial, personnel) to both community-based mental health settings and intervention developers, enhance the integrity with which EBIs are implemented in community mental health settings, and increase dissemination of EBIs into everyday practice. Currently, no comparable product exists for community-based interventions.

During this Phase I project, the prototype of the WDT is being created with input from the project Advisory Board of experts in the fields of evidence-based intervention and mental health intervention implementation research. Next, Phase I testing of the WDI will be conducted via evaluation by stakeholder groups (e.g., mental health program administrators, mental health providers, intervention developers) to test the feasibility, usability, and value of the proposed WDT. Finally, a full development plan for Phase II will be generated based on Phase I findings and recommendations.

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