In 2020 there will be an estimated $280B in public and private expenditures for behavioral healthcare (substance misuse and mental/developmental disorders). Consequently there has been increasing attention to the problem of integrating evidence-based programs into day-to-day regular practice in community behavioral healthcare practice. One important organizational mechanism for disseminating evidence-based programs and practices in healthcare generally and behavioral healthcare in particular are ?evidence-based program registers? (EBPRs) on the internet, such as: the National Register of Promising Programs and Practices (NREPP), Effective Interventions: HIV Prevention that Works, and Blueprints for Health Youth Development. The proposed study builds on the applicant?s recent R21 study that identified 20 EBPR organizations relevant to behavioral healthcare, described the characteristics of these registers, analyzed the similarities and differences in the registers? evidentiary criteria of effectiveness, and determined to what extent the ratings of individual behavioral healthcare programs were discrepant. The overall goal of this follow-on research is to determine to what extent the major EBPRs as innovative organizations actually increase the implementation of evidence-based programs and practices in the real world of behavioral healthcare organizations and to develop recommendations for improving the visibility, accessibility and utilization of these registers.
The specific aims of this mixed-methods study are: 1. Study the visitors to evidence-based program register websites to determine: characteristics of the users; reasons for accessing the registers; information obtained; information sought but not found; perceived usefulness of the registers; intended utilization of the information obtained; uses to which the information was actually put at the time of a six-month follow-up (such as adopting evidence-based programs or improving existing programs); and recommendations for improving the registers? accessibility and utility. 2. Study the mandates for implementing evidence-based programs issued by federal and state funding organizations in behavioral healthcare, with special attention to mandates to use specific EBPRs. This will measure the impact of the registers on behavioral healthcare programming and funding decisions by major governmental organizations nationally. 3. Study key stakeholders of the registers (i.e., program/policy developers in state and private sector provider organizations) to determine the extent of awareness of the registers, the degree to which various registers have been accessed; the reasons they have been used; the uses to which the information has been put (e.g., adoption of EBPs; new policies concerning EBPs); the perceived utility of the registers; and recommendations for improving the registers? accessibility and utilization. This would be accomplished through national telephone surveys of purposive samples of stakeholders in three major content areas of behavioral healthcare: substance misuse (drugs/alcohol), mental health and child welfare.
This study will increase understanding of the strengths and limitations of on-line evidence-based program registers in behavioral healthcare, determine how the utilization of these registers for decision- making about programs can be improved, and thus contribute to increased use of evidence-based behavioral healthcare programs in society.