These days the treatment industry spends a lot of time talking about the latest trend in buzzwords. We hear a lot about “trauma-informed care”, “evidence-based practice”, “dual diagnosis treatment”, and “outcomes”. While we put them on our websites and talk about them in marketing efforts, it’s rare that facilities implement all of these well. With busy schedules, clients and families to care for, and our own personal lives, it’s almost like implementing or applying these things in facilities and/or practice is an afterthought or just another box to check for licensing or accrediting bodies. We have worked hard at BRC to pay attention to each of these and thought it might be helpful for us to share some of our challenges and successes in doing so. That’s why we are generating this blog series.
In my contribution, I am going to tackle the subject of outcomes. I have been spending a lot of time talking to insurance companies and concerned families and referral sources about some of these things. The one thing that stands out as the primary question in all of these interactions is “How do you know your treatment works?” or “What is your success rate?”. This is often a hard question for treatment providers to answer, because the industry and the literature have not really ever defined what success in treatment really is or the best way to measure it. This problems goes right to the heart of many of the buzzwords listed above.
The treatment industry catches a lot of bad press due to its lack of outcomes research. When compared with other medical industries, we do look pretty bad. It is not entirely fair to say that because we don’t have publication after publication that treatment doesn’t work. Yet, this is exactly what is happening. Scathing articles in popular press have come out about treatment, and the positive contributions to science about treatment have been largely overlooked. The insurance companies then pick and choose what they adopt to deny payment or push practices or medications that perhaps some of us are just not ready to adopt. However, without beginning to collect the data, invest in its analysis, and push outcome studies out into the world, we are left with no defensible position. BRC and its family of programs have been doing this for years, as have many of you. However, we are rarely working together to unify and push back.
I have spent almost 20 years in the treatment industry. Those of you that know me, know I am passionate about this topic and about defending the things that we know work to help individuals move beyond their addictive illness. Over the next few months, I am going to be blogging about outcomes exclusively. I am going to talk about how to get started in your facility with tracking outcomes, what the existing research says about our treatment efforts, how to engage your clients in participating in outcomes tracking efforts, and how to use outcome research to your benefit when talking with payors, families, and clients. I am hoping that we can use this time to move beyond the status of outcomes as a buzzword and find an actionable place that has meaning to us as an industry and as people who try every day to help those suffering from addiction.
As well, this series will feature several of the BRC staff who will be writing about the way in which we deliver treatment. We will tie outcomes into this discussion and take a look at how BRC Healthcare provides care. We hope you will follow along and learn more about our legendary 12-Step immersion and world class clinical competency and why outcomes are an important part of our mission and vision.