Program Evaluation and Quality Management
The steady outcry for demonstrating quality outcomes for community psychiatry and public mental health programs is long standing and has been responded to in various ways—from a collective yawn in some quarters to outstanding efforts and advances in others. While most of the laborers in the mental health field are highly conscientious and diligent in providing proven, effective and high-quality services, the ability to demonstrate that this is the case can be quite challenging. The mechanics of program evaluation can be daunting when working at the level of an agency or mental health system. More practical efforts typically examine new or distinct programs of limited size and scope and employ methods usually seen in experimental studies of mental health interventions, or quasi-experimental approaches without a defined comparison or control group. Repeated measures approaches can lend themselves to program evaluation projects where baseline data is collected and follow-ups occur at subsequent intervals comparing the same individuals to themselves over time. In addition to these well-established approaches to program evaluation, other valuable and sometimes less demanding methods have been developed. These include program fidelity measurement, quality of life and treatment satisfaction surveys, organizational readiness and atmosphere surveys, evidence-based practice implementation, and reference-based benchmarking methodologies.
KeywordsIntellectual Disability Assertive Community Treatment Serious Mental Illness Community Psychiatry Serious Emotional Disturbance
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