Dateline: Tuesday, 8:21pm, April 20th, 2010, Skellefteå, Sweden
What an incredible week. Spent the day today working with 250 social workers, case managers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and agency directors in the far nothern town of Skellefteå, Sweden. Many practitioners here are already measuring outcomes on an ongoing basis and using the information to improve the results of their work with consumers of behavioral health services. Today, I presented the latest findings from ICCE’s ongoing research on “Achieving Clinical Excellence.”
I’ve been coming to the area to teach and consult since the early 1990’s, when I was first invited to work with Gun-Eva Langdahl and the rest of the talented crew at Rådgivningen Oden (RO). As in previous years, I spent my first day (Monday) in Skellefteå watching sessions and working with clients at RO clinic. Frankly, getting to Skellefteå from Goteborg had been a bit of ordeal. What usually took a little over an hour by plane ended up being a 12-hour combination of cars, trains, and buses–all due to volcanic eruptions on Iceland. (I shudder to think of how I will get from Skellefteå to Amsterdam on Wednesday evening if air travel doesn’t resume).
Anyway, the very first visit of the day at Rådgivningen Oden was with an adolescent and her parents. Per usual, the session started with the everyone completing and discussing the Outcome Rating Scale. The latest research reported in the April 2010 edition of Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (JCCP) confirms the wisdom of this practice: measuring and discussing progress with consumers at every visit results in better outcomes.
It turns out that adolescents are at greater risk for deteriorating in treatment than adults (20% versus 10%). Importantly, the study in JCCP by Warren, Nelson, Mondragon, Baldwin, and Burlingame found that the more frequently measures are used the less likely adolescents are to worsen in care. Indeed, as ICCE Senior Associate Susanne Bargmann pointed out in a series of recent emails about this important study, “routinely tracking and discussing progress led to 37% higher recovery rates and 38% lower rates of deterioration!”
Skellefteå is a hotbed of feedback-informed practice in Sweden. Accompanying the family at Rådgivningen Oden, for example, were professionals from a number of other agencies involved in the treatment and wanting to learn more about outcome-informed practice. As already noted, 250 clinicians took time away from their busy schedules to hear the latest information and finesse their use of the measures. And tomorrow, Wednesday, I meet with managers and directors of behavioral health agencies to discuss steps for successfully implementing routine measurement of progress and feedback in their settings. You can download a video discussing the work being done by the team at Odin in Northern Sweden, by clicking here.
Stay tuned for more. If all goes well, I’ll be in Amsterdam by Wednesday evening.