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Re-defining Quality

In recent years, addiction treatment has been delivered and evaluated under its own individualized health care system. Programming for many substance use disorders (SUD’s), often means continued use of fixed time amounts for their residential programs with only intermittent program outcome evaluations at 6 and 12 months after discharge. For many programs their best definition of successful patient outcomes continues to be defined as: completion of a 28 day Treatment program, regular attendance at AA, a reduction in substance use, and improved social functioning. This is often referred to as ‘recovery’.

In today’s world, quality outcome measures are useful tools savvy behavioral health care providers are now utilizing to measure or quantify healthcare goals, determine patient outcomes, then improving their delivery systems to assure high-quality health care goals are met. Patient outcome monitoring, Value Based Purchasing and Clinical Quality management are all related issues receiving mounting attention due to an increasing emphasis on health care accountability and cost containment by payers. For the most part, addiction providers have failed to capitalize on financial incentives available through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The behavioral health Industry simply has not taken advantage of the “high tech systems” and procedures capable of building the low cost, efficient, outcome monitoring systems crucial to their survival.

Lagging behind the rest of the medical industry, both addiction and mental health treatment services have mostly failed at recognizing the importance of real time, cloud based monitoring, in re-defining the quality of their patient outcomes.