The Pharmacy Integration group enhances clinical pharmacists’ role in patient care by integrating behavioral and physical health services through evidence-based collaborative care innovations. Project Lifeline is the cornerstone program for this area and is funded through the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation (NACDSF). The initiative implements screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) practices in community pharmacies nationally.
Project Lifeline – Expansion (National Rollout)
Project Lifeline Expansion is a three year initiative funded by the NACDSF, building on current Project Lifeline research to support patient access to substance use interventions and care in 50 locations across five regions in the United States. The national rollout is designed to implement strategies and disseminate the Project Lifeline program to other areas across the county through engagements with specific community pharmacy organizations and managed care organizations (MCOs). Project Lifeline Expansion ensures all eligible patients receive the right SBIRT services by the right pharmacy staff every time in 50 locations across the US throughout the project period. Goals and start dates include:
- In June 2023, establish a nationally representative advisory group to guide all implementation and evaluation efforts.
- In July 2023, develop and execute strategies for implementing SBIRT for substance use disorders (SUD) across the US through outreach and engagements with community pharmacy organizations and MCOs.
- In October 2023, initiate SBIRT for substance use behaviors at 50 pharmacy locations across the US using a phased implementation approach.
- In October 2023, collect performance data to ensure implementation fidelity and learn how to best support sustainability.
- In January 2024, champion SBIRT implementation and other vital public health services in the healthcare community, including public health programs and behavioral healthcare providers, to disseminate and sustain improvements in public health through better access to care by initiating implementation of sustainability structures.
- In November 2025, conduct an internal evaluation of goals, outcomes and lessons learned.
Project Lifeline (Allegheny County, Pennsylvania)
Funded by NACDSF, from July 2019 through December 2021, Project Lifeline:
- Increased patient access to care for hazardous and harmful substance use.
- Equipped pharmacists to screen patients for risky substance use and provide appropriate interventions.
- Evaluated whether pharmacy-based SBIRT services lead to downstream improvements in clinical outcomes and decreases in associated healthcare costs.
Project Lifeline outcomes included:
- Included SBIRT services in existing workflows at participating sites.
- Increased positive health outcomes for patients at participating sites.
- Reduced SUD-related costs in Allegheny County.
- Advocated for reimbursement models for pharmacists providing SBIRT services in Pennsylvania.
Project Lifeline in the news
- The NACDSF press release about Project Lifeline
- NACDSF press video
- Project Lifeline workflow video
- Role of pharmacists in the Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) crisis, Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy, Volume 15, Issue 2, February 2019, Pages 228-229
- NACDSF honors Project Lifeline leaders for opioid abuse prevention work, Drug Store News, November 16, 2019
Visit the IHSI homepage to learn more about our program areas.