In 2020, the Province of Ontario released its Roadmap to Wellness: A Plan to Build Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions System. The strategy highlighted standardized performance measurement as a vital tool for improving treatment and outcomes. Since that time, Homewood Research Institute (HRI) has been bringing experts together to answer that call.
The Institute has engaged a growing network of stakeholders from across the province to lay the groundwork for a standardized approach to progress and outcome monitoring (POM) across substance use and addictions services. Experts include treatment providers, government representatives, clinicians, researchers, and people with lived and living expertise. This work is an extension of HRI’s previous work developing a POM system at Homewood Health Centre.
On June 17, 2022 HRI hosted a virtual meeting to reconvene the network. HRI’s Director of Research and Evaluation, Dr. Jean Costello, led the meeting alongside HRI Senior Scientist, Dr. Brian Rush, and Senior Research and Evaluation Associate, Dr. Stephanie Lu. The team shared updates from exploratory work done over the past year with six live-in treatment programs in Ontario, all of which are at different stages of implementing a POM system.
The work is detailed in a new report titled, Building the Foundation for a Standardized Approach to Progress and Outcome Monitoring across Substance Use and Addiction Services, co-authored by:
- Drs. Costello, Rush, and Lu – HRI
- Sheena Taha – Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA)
- James MacKillop – HRI, Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research, McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton
- Kim Corace – The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre
The research team worked with leaders from the six treatment sites to explore current POM practices and to gauge interest and feasibility around introducing a more standardized approach to performance measurement. The chosen sites encompass a variety of treatment settings, geographical regions, and client populations to represent the diversity that exists in the sector.
Findings support the feasibility of standardizing measurement domains and time points across all program sites and their respective POM systems. In the coming year, HRI will support each site through implementation and/or evaluation of their systems. The goal of this work is to equip clients, treatment providers, researchers, and decision makers with real-time data that informs treatment and offers measurable evidence that these services are improving lives.
“With this foundational work complete, we are excited to moving into the next phase of this project and begin working with each site to develop plans for implementing and/or evaluating their POM systems,” says Dr. Costello. “In the end, we hope to have a roadmap for building a sustainable, scalable infrastructure to support the monitoring of treatment progress and outcomes of addiction and mental health services in Ontario and across Canada.”
Funding for this work has been generously provided by KPMG Waterloo, the KPMG Foundation and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.