Implementation of an evidence-based biobehavioral treatment for cancer patients

Jan 20, 2017 | M. M. Ryba, B. M. Brothers and B. L. Andersen

One aim of dissemination and implementation (DI) research is to study the translation of evidence-based treatments (EBTs) from the research environments of their development and testing to broader communities where they are needed. There are few behavioral medicine DI studies and none in cancer survivorship. A determinant model (Setting, Therapist, Education, imPlementation, and Sustainability (STEPS)) was used to conceptualize DI of mental health treatment and frame a longitudinal study of implementation of a behavioral medicine EBT-a biobehavioral intervention (BBI) for cancer patients. Using effective dissemination strategies, therapists were trained in the BBI and followed to determine if implementation occurred. Participants (N = 108) were psychologists, social workers, and other oncology mental health providers from diverse settings to whom the BBI had been disseminated. BBI trainers then provided 6 months of support for implementation (e.g., monthly conference calls). Therapists reported number of patients treated, with or without the BBI, at 2, 4, and 6 months; use of support strategies was tracked. Generalized linear mixed models show that the proportion of patients treated with BBI ranged from 58 to 68%, with a 2% increase across follow-ups. Therapist and setting characteristics did not predict usage. Implementation of a behavioral medicine EBT provides a “real-world” demonstration of a BBI moved from the research setting to diverse communities. As the first study in cancer, it is an encouraging example of training and supporting mental health providers to deliver evidence-based psychological treatment and finding their success in doing so.

PubMed Abstract

Ryba MM, Brothers BM, Andersen BL. Implementation of an evidence-based biobehavioral treatment for cancer patients. Translational behavioral medicine. 2017.