Step 4: Launch

Senior mental health professional leads group therapy session, Photo by SDI Productions/Getty Images
Senior mental health professional leads group therapy session, Photo by SDI Productions/Getty Images

Step 4 Launch

Launch and monitor your new COD pharmacotherapy program.


Create a plan to launch your new COD pharmacotherapy program and monitor COD care quality

Your co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders (COD) pharmacotherapy program is almost ready to launch.

Your staff are motivated, educated on the COD-alcohol and/or COD-opioid workflows, and trained to develop any new skills necessary to deliver quality care.

Now is the time to put your plan into action. It may be helpful to create a timeline to help prepare for implementation. You may wish to pilot the program with a small group prior to implementing at a larger scale.

Remember to have clear communication about the timeline of the launch with all individuals who will be affected. This may include organization leaders, frontline leaders, staff who are directly involved in the intervention, patients, support staff, and other units or groups affected by the program. Regular meetings or conference calls may be helpful to share information as new processes are implemented.

Before you formally launch the program, you might want to create a plan to monitor the quality of your COD care program on an ongoing basis.

Ideally, you will create your monitoring plan in advance of implementation. Creating your plan early will allow you time to establish a "baseline" that is based on selected metrics before the program is fully operational so that you can monitor changes over time. You may also want to consult with someone with analytic expertise to help monitor your program metrics.

Why is quality monitoring important?

Quality monitoring is important to determine whether your program works the way it was intended, assess program progress over time, and identify areas that may need attention. Quality monitoring can include metrics that measure program implementation and those that measure client outcomes.


  • Determine the timeline and process for implementation
  • Determine which quality metrics your clinic will monitor
  • Plan for sustainability


  • Clinic Leadership
  • COD Change Team
  • Person or team responsible for Quality Assurance or Quality Improvement (if available at your clinic)

What you'll need


Action Steps

Select quality metrics

What to do

You will want to select metrics that allow you to monitor aspects of the program that are important for your clinic and easily obtainable.

  • Use the Selecting Quality Metrics guide to decide which metrics are right for your clinic.

Develop a monitoring plan

Now that you have determined which metrics will be useful to signal whether your program is successful, create a formal monitoring plan to measure and use those metrics.

If your clinic or organization has a person or team responsible for Quality Assurance or Quality Improvement, this plan may build on their existing processes.


  • Create a defined plan to monitor your COD care program and inform your clinic’s continuous quality improvement efforts


  • COD Change Team (if there is no formalized Quality Assurance [QA] or Quality Improvement [QI] team at your clinic)
  • Person or team responsible for QA/QI (if available)

What you'll need

What to do

You will want to select metrics that allow you to monitor aspects of the program that are important for your clinic and easily obtainable.

  1. Review the Monitoring Plan that we created for the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health.
  2. Consider which metrics and methods are feasible and most useful for your clinic and additional metrics that are not in the example. For guidance on selecting COD metrics, see the Selecting Quality Metrics guide.
  3. Write a COD monitoring plan that works for your clinic using the Program Monitoring worksheet. A good monitoring plan contains the following information:
    • Who is responsible for collecting and managing the data needed to generate the metrics
    • When and how often to collect data, generate metrics, and evaluate program performance that will let you know whether the program is working or at risk of failure (e.g., monthly, quarterly, or annually)
    • How to calculate or collect measurements, including which data are needed and the data collection process
    • How to use the quality measures to improve care processes (plans to give feedback to providers, etc.).
  4. Your monitoring plan may include data from a variety of sources, including the clinic electronic records, administrators, staff, and patients. You might also decide to use such methods as interviews, focus groups, and surveys. Here are some resources if you need guidance:
    1. If you are gathering information from staff using a survey, see Chapter 2 of AHRQ's Ambulatory Surgery Center Survey on Patient Safety Culture: User's Guide.
    2. If you are soliciting staff feedback from in-person group meetings, see Comprehensive Unit Based Safety Program (CUSP) Culture Check-Up Process Tool.
    3. If you want to understand quality improvement processes generally, see Promoting Success: A Getting To Outcomes® Guide to Continuous Quality Improvement
      1. This guide provides information about collecting data about a program's processes and outcomes and how they can be monitored and improved over time.
  5. Assess whether COD-alcohol and/or COD-opioid care are sustainable for your clinic. Several factors contribute to whether a new practice is sustained over time. These factors include whether leadership and staff are engaged, how well the practice is integrated into the workflow, and whether staff are trained on new practices. This resource provides the information and tools you will need to assess sustainability:

Launch your clinic’s COD care program

You have now determined that your program has all of the resources and personnel it needs for success, decided when and how to implement the program, and developed a plan to monitor key processes and outcomes to support quality improvement during and after the program is implemented.

Remember, regularly monitoring the program can help point out areas for improvement and highlight program achievements. Conditions in which your site provides COD care will almost certainly change over time. Your monitoring plan will help identify new barriers to program effectiveness. Sticking to your monitoring plan will be important to ensure that you can address barriers as needed.

Your decision to create, launch, and monitor a COD care program at your clinic—and your staff’s dedication to making it a reality—will give patients with co-occurring substance use disorders access to evidence-based treatments and a better chance at recovery.

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