The routine collection of drug treatment outcomes to manage quality of care, improve patient satisfaction, and allocate treatment resources is currently hampered by two key difficulties: (1) problems locating clients once they leave treatment; and (2) the prohibitive cost of obtaining meaningful and reliable post-treatment data. This pilot describes precise methods for an economical staff-based routine outcome monitoring (ROM) system using an 18-item core measure telephone survey. As implemented at Narconon™ of Oklahoma, a behavioral and social skills based, residential drug rehabilitation program, the system was psychometrically adequate for aggregate reporting while providing clinically useful information. Standardized procedures for staff training, collecting client contact information, structuring exit interviews and maintaining post-treatment telephone contact produced follow-up rates that improved from 57.6% to 100% over the course of the project. Aggregate data was used to improve program delivery and thereby post-treatment substance use and social outcomes. These methods and use of data may contribute to the discussion on how to best monitor outcomes.
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