Building the foundation for recovery monitoring in Ontario

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Ontario recently launched Roadmap to Wellness: A Plan to Build Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions System. The plan provides a clear path forward to improve mental health and addiction services and calls for a standardized approach to measuring performance of the current system – a call echoed by both the Auditor General and Addictions and Mental Health Ontario.

HRI is bringing experts together to answer that call.

On March 12, HRI invited key stakeholders from the mental health and addiction sector across Ontario to an exploratory workshop. The meeting was a crucial first step to co-creating a vision and exploring opportunities to advance recovery monitoring in Ontario.

Participants included addiction treatment providers from across the province, and representatives from key organizations, including:

  • The Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence
  • Addiction and Mental Health Ontario
  • CAMH’s Provincial Support Services Program
  • ConnexOntario, and
  • Ontario Health

The group explored the feasibility of a province-wide data system that would help Ontario answer vital questions about its services: Are people getting better? Will proposed changes to care actually make a difference? Are investments in addiction care paying off?

A performance-measurement system would also enable:

  • Evidence-based improvements to care that will help people get better, sooner
  • More efficient treatment services so more people can access care
  • Improved cost efficiency in government spending

A foundational framework created by HRI

To open the meeting, HRI scientists Dr. Jean Costello and Dr. Brian Rush provided an overview of HRI’s Recovery Journey Project. The Project is a recovery-monitoring system for addiction treatment developed and tested over the past five years in partnership with Homewood Health.

Discussions followed about how such a system could be built upon for broader application. The group identified outstanding needs, available supports for implementing a province-wide system, the alignment of this initiative with provincial priorities, and next steps to build capacity for a system-level approach.

The group referenced performance-measurement systems currently in place in other healthcare areas — such as cancer treatment – that have generated invaluable data to guide improvements to care and ultimately, to save lives.

HRI is now exploring existing projects relevant to this initiative and seeking collaborative opportunities to advance this work in measuring outcomes on a broad scale.