A multistakeholder-driven model for developing an outcome management system

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Increasing demands for accountability in the delivery of public mental health services are engendering organized systems of treatment outcome monitoring. As such systems are designed and implemented, it is critical that key stakeholders be involved to the greatest extent possible in developing assessment instruments and methodologies so as to ensure relevance and acceptability of the outcome management system. A multistakeholder-based initiative for developing standardized outcome assessment for public mental health services in Virginia is described. Key components of the initiative include the process by which stakeholders were enlisted, the identification of recommended assessment instruments, and a pilot project that began the evaluation of the feasibility, utility, and cost-benefit of using the instruments. To illustrate features of this initiative, the child/adolescent mental health pilot project is described in detail. Implications for behavioral health administrators and next steps for Virginia's outcome management system are discussed, highlighting the role of key stakeholders.