The collaborative care model requires providers to work cooperatively and have open, effective lines of communication with other providers and clinic staff. Prior to implementation, it is crucial to assess the clinic’s readiness and how physicians and staff believe the collaborative care model would fit into your existing workflow.
We conducted qualitative interviews with physicians, nurses, and social workers to evaluate perceptions about how the model would fit into our clinic. Interviews also explored how the providers felt about its ability to adequately address the problems of mental health disorders in HIV care. It was evident that teamwork and care integration were ingrained in the clinic culture prior to implementation. All providers had high praise for their coworkers, with all interviewees emphasizing the collaborative nature of the clinic, even if there was no collaborative care model yet implemented.
Each member of the team should have a good understanding of their own level of expertise and limitations, as well as those of their colleagues. Doctors, nurses, and social workers must know their own limitations but understand that they can count on their colleagues’ expertise when necessary.
Implementing the MIDUS model requires “buy-in” from the clinic staff, medical informatics, and the psychiatry or behavioral health care departments. Identifying team leads or “project champions” from each group will help facilitate the transformation to a collaborative model for your clinic.