Successfully implementing change in any organization requires careful management. It stands to reason then that implementing measurement feedback systems in behavioral health agencies also takes a certain amount of finesse.
Here we’ll share with you four secrets for effectively implementing the Partners for Change Outcome Management System (PCOMS), a measurement feedback system and SAMHSA-recognized evidence-based practice that uses two, four-item scales to solicit client feedback regarding factors proven to predict success regardless of treatment model or presenting problem.
Secret #1: Be in It for the Long Haul
Implementing change is not a sprint, but a marathon. Support for PCOMS from the agency’s directors and senior managers is needed, as well as support from the staff. Unless everyone is onboard, implementation is likely to fail because those who are under an “indifferent” manager in the organizational tree might not follow through with what’s required.
When adopting PCOMS and its web application, Better Outcomes Now (BON), you will need a business/financial plan incorporating training and the appropriate IT infrastructure to accommodate systematic usage.
Implementing measurement feedback systems also requires some adjustments in organizational culture. A central feature of PCOMS with BON is placing the client front and center. Therefore, client partnership and service accountability are paramount.
Secret #2: Love Your Data
Data tell all. Unless we have data, we won’t know if implementation is progressing. An important part of successful PCOMS implementation involves building a culture around numbers and data to help your staff get rid of any reluctance to embrace them.
This requires that all supervisors and managers understand the data and be able speak to it with confidence. Until there is data integrity, PCOMS and BON will not do their jobs of identifying non-responding clients to enable new directions and better outcomes.
"You gotta love your data, and I don't mean having a casual friendship, I mean you got to love your data much more than just a friend." - Dr. Barry L. Duncan, from the Four Secrets of PCOMS Implementation
Secret #3: Inspire the Front-Line Worker
For implementation to be sustained, front-line folks must personally realize the benefits. Remember that one of the main personal motivations of the therapist – the very reason many got into this business in the first place – is to make a difference in the lives of those served.
PCOMS and BON appeal to the best intentions of the therapist, encouraging data collection for tracking development and the implementation of strategies to improve therapy effectiveness. When clinicians experience the conversation they’ve never had, or recapture a client who was headed nowhere, then the benefits of PCOMS and BON provide motivation to continue.
Secret #4: Supervise for Change
If there is one thing that must be in place for the successful implementation of measurement feedback systems, it’s supervision. In addition to using PCOMS / BON data to identify clients who are not benefitting and charting new therapeutic courses, ongoing supervision is integral to positive work morale. Supervision is often the glue that holds agencies together in the face of pressures for production and the stress of hearing the heartaches of people struggling at the worst times of their lives. Supervision also provides a context for camaraderie and support — it fosters an esprit de corps that both buffers burnout and stimulates rapid learning.
So, there you have it. Those are the four secrets for implementation in all their glory. You can learn all you need to train others and implement PCOMS in your organization by attending the annual Trainer of Trainers Conference. Registration for the 2020 event is open now. Reserve your spot today.