The health care system plays a key role in shaping the outcomes of people with mental health and addiction problems. A person’s ability to access services and supports is determined in part by policies and programs. Evaluation and performance measurement are critical to assessing the effectiveness of services and supports.
How do we best organize our health care system to deal with mental health and addiction problems? Which types of programs or policies are most effective in addressing these problems? How do we determine how well they are doing in community settings?
CAMH’s Health Systems researchers look at the design, delivery, and effectiveness of mental health and addiction treatment and support, with a focus on systems, services, and policies. For example, Dr. Brian Rush, Group Head, is leading five projects that are part of the Drug Treatment Funding Program (DTFP), which aims to strengthen substance abuse treatment systems in Ontario and across Canada.
Drug Treatment Funding Program
• Best Practice Screening and Assessment Procedures will develop and implement a revised protocol for the standardized assessment of clients entering the addictions treatment system in Ontario (B Rush)
• Client Recovery Monitoring will develop and pilot an evidence-based protocol for recovery monitoring to determine the feasibility of implementing a recovery monitoring system for Ontario (B Rush).
• Client Satisfaction will review, select, and implement an evidence-based, sustainable, and standardized provincial program to assess client satisfaction in all publicly-funded addiction treatment services in Ontario (B Rush).
• Assessment/Benchmark Addictions Treatment Costs will develop and pilot a standardized program of cost reporting and comparisons for addiction treatment services in Ontario (B Rush).
• Needs-based Planning Project, a national project, aims to develop a planning model for substance use services and supports based on population needs and the capacity required to address these needs (B Rush).
Mental health care
• Early Psychosis Intervention in Ontario: A Survey to Assess Current Practice in Relation to Government Program Standards. This is a first step to understanding the organization and delivery of Early Psychosis Intervention Programs, including strengths and challenges for meeting newly released ministry program standards (J Durbin)
• Exploring the Commonalities between Mental Illness and Disability. This project evaluates the different ways that mental illness and disability are conceptualized by the two policy communities (currently operating separately). The objective is to identify commonalities and promising areas that will facilitate future joint efforts to address the disabling effects of mental illness (E Lin, J Durbin).
• Information Continuity between Primary Care and Specialist Mental Health: Development of a Tool for Quality Measurement. This study aims to develop a standardized tool for documenting the content of referral letters from primary care to psychiatry. Follow-up work could apply the tool to better understand the quality of communications between these two health providers (J Durbin)
Primary care for developmental disabilities
• Indicators of Primary Care Provided to Persons with Developmental Disabilities in Ontario. This multi-year project aims to assemble what will be the largest international dataset of individuals with developmental disabilities and to use this information to evaluate the quality of the primary care that they receive in Ontario (Y Lunsky, E Lin).
Dr. Dominique Morisano
CAMH’s Health Systems researchers are housed within the Social and Epidemiological Research (SER) Department.