Exploration, Preparation, and Implementation of Standardized Assessment in a Multi-agency School Behavioral Health Network

Adm Policy Ment Health. 2021 May;48(3):464-481. doi: 10.1007/s10488-020-01082-7. Epub 2020 Sep 17.


School mental health treatment services offer broad public health impact and could benefit from more widespread implementation and sustainment of standardized assessments (SA). This demonstration study describes one approach to increase SA use in a large school behavioral health network using the Exploration, Preparation, Implementation and Sustainment (EPIS) framework. Mental health administrator interviews with four participating agencies and a multidisciplinary planning team informed SA measure selection and implementation supports. The SA initiative was implemented during one school year, including system-wide training and ongoing implementation supports for 95 clinicians. Linear mixed effect models revealed improvements in clinician attitudes about the SA for clinical utility and treatment planning immediately following the half-day training (N = 95, p < .001). Clinicians self-reported a significant increase in use of SA for new clients during intakes (p < .001) over time and 71.4% of expected SA data were submitted. Qualitative feedback, including recommendations to offer more SA choices and beginning new SA data collection earlier in the school year, was integrated to inform quality improvements and future sustainment efforts.

Keywords: Adoption; Evidence-based practice; Implementation context; School behavioral health services; Standardized assessment; Sustainment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Organizations
  • Psychiatry*
  • Public Health
  • Schools*