Learning Collaboratives: A Strategy for Quality Improvement & Implementation in Behavioral Health
In 1995, The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) launched its Breakthrough Series (BTS) collaboratives to improve healthcare. These are often referred to as learning collaboratives. Key elements of these BTS learning collaboratives, as identified by IHI in its early publications, included: selecting a specific improvement topic, recruiting expert faculty, enrolling organizations and teams, face-to-face learning sessions, Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles of change, technical assistance to teams, inter-agency sharing and learning, and summation of results and lessons learned. The IHI model was widely disseminated and adopted nationally and internationally.
In 2020, The Annapolis Coalition was commissioned by the National Coordinating Office of the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network to conduct a review of learning collaboratives. Learning collaboratives have been widely used in general healthcare and in behavioral health as a strategy for quality improvement and implementation of evidence-based practices. This review was to assist technical assistance providers in better understanding and using this approach to change management. It addresses these questions:
- What are learning collaboratives?
- What is the evidence for their effectiveness?
- What are their key elements?
- How have they been applied in behavioral health?
- What are best practices for use in behavioral health?
The review concludes with a summary of key findings and a set of recommendations for technical assistance providers. Download the full report.
Resources on Planning and Conducting Learning Collaboratives
A supplement to the full report identifies resources that are available to assist technical assistance providers in developing and offering learning collaboratives. It contains links to the following categories of information:
- Institute for Healthcare Improvement Resources
- Guides to Conducing and Planning Collaboratives
- Implementation and Change Strategies
- Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) Resources
- Framework for Selecting an Improvement Strategy
- Reporting on Learning Collaboratives
- Health Equity, Diversion, and Inclusion Resources
- Additional Recommended Readings
Download the Collaborative Resource Supplement..
Learning Collaborative Webinar
In October of 2020, the authors of the learning collaborative report and supplement conducted a webinar. A review of the findings and recommendations were presented, followed by facilitated discussion with technical assistance providers.