Objective: As part of this national project, we examined barriers and strategies to implementation of two evidence-based practices (EBPs) in Indiana.
Background: Despite many advances in the knowledge base regarding mental health treatment, the implementation of EBPs in real-world setting remains poorly understood. The National EBP Project is a multi-state study of factors influencing implementation of EBPs.
Methods: Over a 15-month period we observed eight assertive community treatment (ACT) programs and six integrated dual disorders treatment (IDDT) programs and noted pertinent actions taken by the state mental health agency influencing implementation. We created a database containing summaries of monthly visits to each program and interviews with key leaders. Using this database and clinical impressions, we rated barriers and strategies at each site on seven factors: Attitudes, Mastery, Leadership, Staffing, Policies, Workflow, and Program Monitoring.
Results: At the site level, the most frequently observed barriers were in the areas of leadership, staffing and policies for ACT, and mastery and leadership for IDDT. Overall, barriers were more evident for IDDT than for ACT. Strategies were less frequently noted but generally paralleled the areas noted for barriers. However, our central finding was that ACT was generally more successfully implemented than IDDT throughout the state, and that this difference could be traced in large part to state-level factors relating to historical preparation for the practice, establishment of standards, formation of a technical assistance center, and funding.
Conclusion: In this case study, both state-level and site-specific factors influenced success of implementation of EBPs. To address these factors, the field needs systematic strategies to anticipate and overcome these barriers if full implementation is to be realized.