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Implementing a Statewide Outcomes Management System for Consumers of Public Mental Health Services
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The authors describe the development and implementation of an outcomes management system designed to measure outcomes and processes of care for public mental health consumers in Arkansas. The public-academic project was implemented in 1995 and is based on the Shewhart-Deming model of continuous quality improvement. All 15 community mental health centers (CMHCs) in the state participate in the project, which prospectively measures longitudinal outcomes of care for the tracer conditions of major depression and schizophrenia. Multiperspective measurement tools are used to measure patients' psychiatric status and general health status at periodic intervals; information is gathered on functioning, symptoms, severity of illness, social factors, demographic characteristics, and quality of life. A problem encountered during implementation was the relatively low rate of referral of patients with the tracer conditions for monitoring. Voluntary rather than mandatory participation in the outcomes management system by the CMHCs as well as clinicians' misperceptions about the system's purpose and concerns about confidentiality may have partly accounted for the low rate. (Authors)
Psychiatric Services
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services