Change and Improvement

Make Changes That Matter - to your Clients, your Payers, and your Workforce

One of the best investments you can make is training your staff in quality improvement techniques. Being involved in making change increases worker retention – and those changes not only improve services for clients, but also can increase program income.

Following a walkthrough which highlighted the impact on clients of a drab waiting room, a New York program made changes for under $1000 dollars. They not only improved the client experience, but also found that the process of working together to create change has enhanced teamwork among the staff and change team. As a result, staff have noted improved morale among staff, and among clients.


Two major groups which provide many tools for improvement are

  • NIATx - the Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment – specifically for improving the clinical and business practices of addictions treatment programs and behavioral health organizations
  • Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) – focused on hospital practices, but has an overview and general tools related to change

NIATx offers

  • Easy to use tools which empower workers to act on what they see
  • Case studies
  • Learning Collaboratives
  • Archived Webinars, presentations, conference calls (on such topics as Workforce Development, Client Retention and NIATx Fundamentals)
  • Models for using improvement techniques from other fields
  • Grant opportunities including Learning Collaboratives and Coaching

The Massachusetts DPH Bureau of Substance Addiction Services has provided ongoing local NIATx-based technical assistance, including:

  • Monthly Learning Collaborative conference calls on Workforce Development and Client Retention
  • NIATx Fundamentals and Change Leader trainings, including a collaborative learning component
  • NIATx 200
  • Access for individual programs to NIATx Coaches

To find out more about NIATx, contact Jen Parks, Assistant Director for Workforce and Provider Supports at the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services.