Steps for implementing collaborative care programs for depression

Popul Health Manag. 2009 Apr;12(2):69-79. doi: 10.1089/pop.2008.0023.


Numerous studies have demonstrated that collaborative care (care management) for depression improves outcomes, yet few clinics have implemented this evidence-based practice. To promote adoption of this best practice, our objective was to describe the steps needed to tailor collaborative care models for local needs, resources, and priorities while maintaining fidelity to the evidence base. Based on lessons learned from 2 multisite Veterans Affairs implementation studies conducted in 2 different clinical, organizational, and geographic contexts, we describe in detail the steps needed to adapt an evidence-based collaborative care program for depression for local context while maintaining highly fidelity to the research evidence. These steps represent a detailed checklist of decisions and action items that can be used as a tool to plan the implementation of a collaborative care model for depression. We also identify other tools (eg, decision support systems, suicide risk assessment) and resources (eg, training materials) that will support implementation efforts. These implementation tools should help clinicians and administrators develop informed strategies for rolling out collaborative care models for depression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Evidence-Based Practice / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Program Development / methods*