Shared Values and Tools for Implementing Collaborative Care

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In United States primary care, helping patients with depression is a daily crisis. Over the past decade, Collaborative Care has emerged as the new standard for depression treatment in primary care. Recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force, this model speeds improvement through increased engagement, symptom monitoring and rapid treatment adjustment.

While Collaborative Care is a proven solution to this crisis, implementing it in any medical system exposes unexpected challenges. As an implementation group shapes a Collaborative Care model to fit their local environment, there is no systematic method to determine which parts of the model can be modified or where flexibility might undermine success.

The Shared Values and Tools for Implementing Collaborative Care defines a serviceable framework for making implementation decisions to integrate mental health treatment into primary care. When decision-makers agree not just on goals, but on the shared values those goals are based on, all decisions get filtered through a lens of shared values, and fall into one of two categories—”fidelity required” or “flexibility allowed.” This discrete, shared understanding enables anyone involved to ensure decisions have integrity.

Who should use this toolkit?

This toolkit is intended for healthcare administrators, clinicians, and policymakers.

What does the toolkit contain?

The following materials are included in the toolkit:

  1. Shared values of primary care collaborative care
  2. Smart phrase for behavioral health clinician (BHC) presentations
  3. Provider self-assessment tool
  4. Schedule template for BHC

How should these tools be used?

The materials in this toolkit can be used as a functional framework for making implementation decisions to integrate mental health treatment into primary care. A description of each tool is clarified at the end of this toolkit. To allow you to easily implement the materials for use in your organization, they are provided as separate file that you can download on the HIPxChange site.

Development of this toolkit

Shared Values and Tools for Implementing Collaborative Care was developed by researchers and clinicians (Principal Investigator: C. Elizabeth Perry) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine & Public Health – Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. This project was supported by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health’s Health Innovation Program (HIP), the Primary Care Academics Transforming Health (PATH), the Wisconsin Partnership Program, and the Community-Academic Partnerships core of the University of Wisconsin Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (UW ICTR), grant 9 U54 TR000021 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (previously grant 1 UL1 RR025011 from the National Center for Research Resources). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or other funders.

Please send questions, comments and suggestions to

Toolkit Citation

Perry CE, Wells S, Huang H. Shared Values and Tools for Implementing Collaborative Care. University of Wisconsin-Madison. Madison, WI; 2021. Available at

About the Authors

UW Health is the integrated and nationally recognized regional health system of the University of Wisconsin-Madison serving more than 600,000 patients each year in the Upper Midwest and beyond with approximately 1,750 physicians and 21,000 staff at seven hospitals and more than 80 outpatient sites.

PATH (Primary Care Academics Transforming Healthcare), a multi-disciplinary writing group of physicians and change leaders at UW Health who write about UW Health system redesign efforts. Dr. Trowbridge’s clinical interests include preventative medicine, heart disease prevention, and general internal medicine.