The Connecticut Mental Health Center Patient Profile Project: application of a service needs index
This article describes a quality assurance effort aimed at defining the characteristics of the patient population of the Connecticut Mental Health Center, a state-funded agency that provides comprehensive clinical and rehabilitative services to persons with mental illness. Also described is how this information guided management decisions in both caseload distribution and clinical service development. This "Patient Profile Project" was informed by research principles which view evaluation as continual, rather than terminal activity that involves key stakeholders from all levels within the mental health system of care and makes maximum use of data in ongoing performance improvement initiatives. The service-need index that the project produced represents our first efforts to accurately capture service need and use it in clinical decision making. This review of the Connecticut Mental Health Center Patient Profile Project illustrates the utility of a continuous evaluation system in promoting improvements in a large mental health treatment system.
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