Implementation of the CALM Intervention for Anxiety Disorders

A Qualitative Study

Published In: Implementation Science, v. 7, no. 14, Apr. 2012, p. 1-11

Posted on RAND.org on April 01, 2012

by Geoffrey M. Curran, Greer Sullivan, Peter Mendel, Michelle G. Craske, Cathy D. Sherbourne, Murray Stein, Ashley McDaniel, Peter Roy-Byrne

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BACKGROUND: Investigators recently tested the effectiveness of a collaborative-care intervention for anxiety disorders, Coordinated Anxiety Learning and Management(CALM), in 17 primary care clinics around the United States. Investigators also conducted a qualitative process evaluation. Key research questions were as follows: (1) What were the facilitators/barriers to implementing CALM? (2) What were the facilitators/barriers to sustaining CALM after the study was completed? METHODS: Key informant interviews were conducted with 47 clinic staff members (18 primary care providers, 13 nurses, 8 clinic administrators, and 8 clinic staff) and 14 study-trained anxiety clinical specialists (ACSs) who coordinated the collaborative care and provided cognitive behavioral therapy. The interviews were semistructured and conducted by phone. Data were content analyzed with line-by-line analyses leading to the development and refinement of themes. RESULTS: Similar themes emerged across stakeholders. Important facilitators to implementation included the perception of "low burden" to implement, provider satisfaction with the intervention, and frequent provider interaction with ACSs. Barriers to implementation included variable provider interest in mental health, high rates of part-time providers in clinics, and high social stressors of lower socioeconomic-status patients interfering with adherence. Key sustainability facilitators were if a clinic had already incorporated collaborative care for another disorder and presence of onsite mental health staff. The main barrier to sustainability was funding for the ACS. CONCLUSIONS: The CALM intervention was relatively easy to incorporate during the effectiveness trial, and satisfaction was generally high. Numerous implementation and sustainability barriers could limit the reach and impact of widespread adoption. Findings should be interpreted with the knowledge that the ACSs in this study were provided and trained by the study. Future research should explore uptake of CALM and similar interventions without the aid of an effectiveness trial.

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