Centerstone Research Institute’s Knowledge Network Announces Goals for 2011

Industry leaders convene on initiatives to close science to service gap in behavioral healthcare arena, chart course for the coming year

Bloomington, Ind. and Nashville, Tenn.—Centerstone Research Institute (CRI) today announced that participants in the Knowledge Network have established goals for 2011 for advancing initiatives aimed at improving the care available to individuals with mental illness and addiction disorders.

The Knowledge Network is a technology-based, partner-driven alliance of community-based mental health centers (CMHCs), academic researchers, behavioral health advocates, industry leaders and policymakers working to transform behavioral healthcare by facilitating the translation of research findings into clinical practice. In 2009, participants kicked off initiatives in four key arenas:

  1. Research, to address the gap that exists between those who conduct research and those who provide care
  2. Implementation, to help better share best practices and strategies in research projects
  3. Technology, to create an electronic clearing house to facilitate data mining sharing and opportunities across multiple sites nationwide
  4. Policy, to improve legislation and national policy regarding behavioral health funding

“Within the last year, we have made great strides in our efforts to close the critical gap between mental health research and clinical practice,” said Dr. Dennis Morrison, CEO of CRI. “Our Knowledge Network members will continue to improve and modify this plan to reduce the science to service gap in behavioral health and better connect patients and providers with the best possible treatment options.”

In Research, Knowledge Network participants noted the continued communication and knowledge gap between those who conduct research and those who provide care. To combat this, they have expanded the number of academic and community mental health center research collaborations, and developed an online clearinghouse where researchers and behavioral health providers can submit collaborative research protocol ideas and report their results. Goals for 2011 include developing educational materials to help partners across large networks conceptualize research projects, such as using Cognitive Remediation Therapy with patients diagnosed with psychotic disorders and smoking cessation programs in those diagnosed with serious mental illnesses.

In Implementation, members have recognized that mental health organizations need to share best practices in order to improve the adoption of research-based interventions. To this end, they have created a plan to track and share successes and failures of a specific implementation project involving increasing the prescription of clozapine for individuals with schizophrenia who screen positive for suicide risk. The clozapine implementation project will serve as a model to be used in the future to assist in quickly implementing important research-based treatments directly into a community mental health center’s practice. Goals for 2011 include implementing an automatic alert for tracking of consumer self reports of suicidal ideation/attempts and action plans to address technical and clinical areas of concern with implementation, as well as distributing educational materials about clozapine use to member centers nationwide.

In Technology, members have created the framework for a data warehouse (www.knproject.org) that can be used to collect de-identified data and track the progress of implementing research-based practices in mental health centers. This project launched with a targeted effort aimed at collecting anonymous data from participating organizations on how many individuals with schizophrenia who have screened at-risk for suicide have been prescribed clozapine. Goals for 2011 include improving the tracking of hospitalization-related costs, and suicidality and conducting services research using the warehouse.

In Policy, three key challenges remain priorities: low awareness among public officials of the clinical efficacy of behavioral health treatments; consistent underfunding of behavioral healthcare by state and national governments; and the lack of funding available to enable the use of health information technology for behavioral health patients. In 2010, the Knowledge Network created and distributed informational materials to legislators, participated in a congressional briefing and elicited bi-partisan support from national policy leaders, members of Congress and staff about the importance of CMHC inclusion in the HITECH bill. Goals for 2011 include continuing to work towards expansion of Health IT funds for behavioral health providers, promotion of key outcomes collection to enable cost efficacy calculations, and providing mutual support for member organizations facing state budget cuts.

To learn more about the Knowledge Network Summit, please visit www.knproject.org.

The Knowledge Network project is made possible by support from the Joe C. Davis Foundation, the Ayers Foundation, and the Cal Turner Foundation.

About Centerstone Research Institute
Centerstone Research Institute (CRI) is a unique not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving mental healthcare through research, information technology and clinical informatics. CRI conducts service and clinical studies and partners with leading research institutions to advance knowledge of mental health and addiction disorders and discover innovative treatments. The organization maintains an Institutional Review Board and manages the Knowledge Network, a technology-based, partner-driven alliance to facilitate the translation of research to practice. CRI also offers Behavioral Pathway Systems, a best practices benchmarking service. CRI is a recipient of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare’s Innovation Award and the 2010 Best Practices Award by The Data Warehousing Institute. For more information about CRI, please visit www.centerstoneresearch.org.