August kicked off with the first of our quarterly residential meetings, focusing initially on data quality and then on session non-attendance (DNAs and Cancellations). We combined what we know from the existing literature about outcome measurement and data quality with the everyday experience of the service representatives in attendance. For DNAs, we were able to generate a list of common reasons about why a session might be missed and what are the various implications of this.
The format proved to be both engaging and productive with the conversation flowing and the excitement and energy high throughout. In discussing many of the common barriers to collecting high-quality data, we, as a learning collaborative, quickly generated several clear and actionable solutions. Feedback on the mentor meetings and data quality auditing were positive, as were the experiences of the practitioners who’s contribution was brought into the room via an online survey.
The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating, and judging by the success to date, it was a star-baker worthy pudding. Since the start of the SILC project, the number of sessions logged with a valid outcome measure was a staggering 97.5%! To put that in perspective, the IAPT programme, with its intensive high data quality focus has achieved around ~97%, and the NAPT (2013) audit, with a far greater resource and dedicated team, achieved 93%. What’s more, these outcome measures are complemented by an almost 100% client assessment data profile which will be used to appropriately and effectively contextualise these outcomes. To see success in such a short space of time is highly encouraging. Future stages of this project will now begin to greatly benefit from these additional insights and help guide and evidence ours and the SILC service’s work.
For the work and discussion on DNAs, services each presented their own individual approaches to handling how and when to deal with a client who does not attend their scheduled appointment. Judging by the research to date, there has been little looking specifically at session non-attendance, choosing instead to focus mainly on early termination and drop-out. This work, therefore, has the potential to benefit not only the project itself but also the wider field of psychotherapy and counselling delivery. Already, work is taking place to formulate and test out solutions to help reduce the incidence of DNAs and offer additional support to those clients who do not attend.
Looking forward, we will continue to refine our data quality audit sheets which have been widely and positively received by services. We will also be monitoring session attendance and non-attendance to work at delivering a more efficient and ultimately effective service.
Onwards towards September and the second of our quarters!
-Scott Steen, SILC Research Lead