La Frontera Center’s Research and Evaluation Department conducts comprehensive program evaluation for the agency. The Research and Evaluation Department consults with the Outcome Evaluation Committee, which reports to the Quality Management Committee. To facilitate the collection and analysis of statistical information, we have instituted a dynamic process in which clinicians generate data, and Research and Evaluation staff analyze and summarize that data in concise, readable reports and PowerPoint presentations. Research staff then discuss the reports with all supervisors and clinical teams, and their feedback is a critical component of the outcome evaluation process. The evaluations are continually refined based on this feedback, as well as the input of the Outcome Evaluation Committee. Once a year, all of the data from the team reports are assembled and analyzed in a summary report, and executive summary.
Most service lines throughout the agency are evaluated. The evaluations have been designed with several goals in mind:
- To be compatible with quality management processes
- To be compatible with requirements of accrediting bodies (e.g., CARF)
- To gather the same information for as many service lines as possible
- To avoid extra paperwork for clinicians
- To be useful for research purposes
The Outcome Evaluation Committee selects outcome measures that are meaningful to clinical services and funding sources, and at the same time efficient to manage. Outcome data, according to CARF guidelines, include information gathered while clients are receiving services (progress data), and those gathered after the client leaves treatment (follow-up data).
The data collected and analyzed during treatment include the following:
- Demographic information (gender, ethnicity, income sources)
- Services received (intake and closure dates, type and number of sessions, cost)
- Key indicators (residence type, employment/school involvement, legal status, substance involvement, global functioning [GAF], treatment goal attainment, and reason for closure)
- Other key indicators identified by clinical teams per their interests
In addition to progress data, a follow-up phone survey is conducted annually. The survey assesses some of the same key indicators noted above: reason for leaving treatment, employment or school status, arrests, and substance use. Former clients (3‒12 months after closure) are also asked how much they believe treatment helped, whether they need additional services, and other comments.