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Consortium to Disseminate and Understand Implementation of Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

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Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among Veterans and a high-priority target for quality improvement in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Effective medications for OUD (MOUD) are available but uptake of them has been highly variable across VHA. Additionally, VHA has been at the forefront in the U.S. in promoting alternative therapies for pain, but these are not consistently available to Veterans in great need of them: those with chronic pain and harmful opioid use. VHA, through its Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, has made access to MOUD for all Veterans who need it a system-wide priority. However, successful implementation of complex care processes that face myriad barriers requires intentional, structured, evidence-based implementation efforts carried out by expert teams in close partnership with local leadership. As such, the overarching goal of this project ? the Consortium to Disseminate and Understand Implementation of Opioid Use Disorder Treatment (CONDUIT) -- is to unite five inter-related VISN/QUERI pilot Partnered Implementation Initiative projects in a concerted effort to improve access to MOUD among Veterans with OUD and access to alternative therapies for pain in 57 VHA sites spanning six VISNs. CONDUIT will span four critical care settings in the OUD continuum of care: Primary Care; Specialty Care; Acute Care (inpatient and Emergency Department); and Telehealth. These efforts will be connected by Veteran Engagement, Implementation, and Quantitative/Economic Cores that will help CONDUIT teams harmonize on metrics, processes and outcomes. There will also be a Strategic Advisory Group composed of Operations leaders and Veterans that will help CONDUIT remain maximally aligned with VHA and Veteran priorities. CONDUIT will also offer sites the opportunity to implement new evidence-based practices (i.e. ones that were not part of initial launch) in the latter half of the project period. The methods deployed by each of the CONDUIT teams will be similar: expert ?external facilitation? teams will lead partnered ?internal facilitation? teams at local sites in a process called ?Implementation Facilitation (IF)? ? a multi-component suite of tools aimed to help the sites effectively adopt evidence-based practices. The five projects piloted and systematically modified IF strategies in Phase 1 and now propose to disseminate those sharpened strategies on a national scale over the next three years, including two new VISNs and dozens of additional sites. In terms of evaluation, CONDUIT will use well-established formative evaluation methods to assess the effectiveness of and to drive refinements to the IF strategies. Additionally, CONDUIT will use cutting edge quantitative methods to assess the impact the work on important clinical targets and to assess the value of the work in terms of costs vs. benefits. Throughout the project period, teams will develop and refine products such as patient and provider educational materials, prescribing and communication guides, and clinic operations manuals. These evaluation and product development efforts will prime successful scale-up and dissemination efforts throughout VHA.
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