Connect, learn, and implement with the new Network of Practice

August 4, 2014
Kim Johnson
NIATx Deputy Director
ATTC Co-Director (WI)

Have you ever been frustrated by the whole evidence-based practice (EBP) thing? First, are EBPs really worth it? Does the difference for the clients make EBPs a worthwhile investment? And then, which ones do we use? Because really, it will probably take more than one anyway, right? So then the question becomes which combination of EBPs work together best for our particular clients. And if you’re the supervisor and you talk to the clinicians in your practice, they all say, “I’m already doing that,” and they’re insulted if you suggest that they aren’t, as they should be—because they are probably doing it as well as they can, given the resources they have. 

It can get to be overwhelming.
But many states have started to require contracted treatment organizations to demonstrate that they have implemented evidence-based practices, and other funders are now requiring improved treatment outcomes. 

Implementing evidence-based practices is probably in your future, even if it hasn’t been in your past.
Back in 2011, NIATx and the ATTC held a series of focus groups around the country to ask providers, CEOs, clinical supervisors, and direct service staff about the barriers they face in implementing EBPs. We asked what would help overcome those barriers. Then we looked at the implementation science literature (yes, there is an implementation science) and we developed a web tool called The Network of Practice:
What we heard the most in our focus groups with treatment providers was that they wished they had someone to talk to—someone who knew about a specific EBP and how to implement it. The Network of Practice is home to a new electronic community that will connect you to your peers and the researchers that develop EBPs. You can use these forums to ask questions, get and give advice, and just talk with each other about how to improve your treatment outcomes.
Over the past month, we had a group of users test the Network of Practice materials and start the conversation. We hope you will join in and share your wisdom and experience, as well as your hopes and frustrations. 

In return, we promise to find the answers to your questions, welcome your ideas and suggestions, and keep the pages fresh with the latest information about EBPs. 
The Network of Practice features other tools we developed to address issues people raised in the focus groups.
The cost benefit survey can help you figure out if the benefits of EPB for the clients outweigh the costs to your agency. You can use another tool, the readiness for implementation scale (RIS), to identify your organization’s strengths and weaknesses in terms of implementing a new EBP. 

We also linked to other web tools and resources such as SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) and NIATx and ATTC materials. And we organized all the tools and info in a step-wise process that will guide you from your initial thinking about a particular EBP through the process of testing and adopting it throughout your organization.
Post a comment or question three times during the month of September, and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win one of 3 Kindle Paperwhites. Visit the site today, and let us know what you think!

Kimberly Johnson, NIATx Deputy Director and ATTC Network Coordinating Office Co-Director, served for seven years as the director of the Office of Substance Abuse in Maine. She has also served as an executive director for a treatment agency, managed intervention and prevention programs, and has worked as a child and family therapist. She joined NIATx in 2007 to lead the ACTION Campaign, a national initiative to increase access to and retention in treatment. She is currently involved in projects with the ATTC Network and NIATx that focus on increasing implementation of evidence-based practices, testing mobile health applications, and developing distance-learning programs for behavioral health. 

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