And so wraps up a lively, engaging and overall fascinating conference. Our Collaborative Learning event took place this month, involving a range of delegates to hear and share experiences around the common challenges facing modern-day psychotherapy and counselling services. Much of the discussion centred around the collection and use of data to generate meaningful and actionable insights to inform development and improvements in quality. The event itself was a culmination of a two-year project involving a group of voluntary sector services who had successfully engaged with data to refine and improve service delivery. Commencing with a scene setting presentation, the day continued with talks on the SILC initiative and from two of our existing SILC services.
Collaboration was the hot topic of conversation. For the past several years, there has been a burgeoning network of collaborating services working together to aggregate data and share learning. Many services have struggled with this however, due in part to their individual and differential approaches to data collection. What’s more, the necessary knowledge and resources available to stakeholders are not always forthcoming. We heard several talks which championed the use of outcomes data by clients to enhance the therapeutic encounter. It was appropriately conceived that any measurement tool was essentially an extension or representation of a client. This echoed much of the learning over this last year and shared via this blog – when it comes to collecting outcomes data, what matters most is how you use it, and how you turn data into wisdom. Cultivating an organisational readiness towards the clinical use of measurement seems a critical task. For the use of data to be effective, organisations must establish an ethos of trust and transparency. This requires suitable time and resources are allocated to support consultation, feedback and training. Training, it was heard, was perceived to be the most essential component of service quality improvement but it was often the most challenging. Fortunately, learning from the SILC project and resources currently in development are designed to address such needs.
It would be disingenuous to assume that services who are interested in participating in the future stages of the SILC project would be able to do so. The attrition of services over the first year has been a valuable learning curve. This next stage provides an opportunity to use this learning and support collaborating services more effectively. Not only that, but the ability to generate insight and use aggregate data is now more viable than ever before. With the event successfully completed, it’s now our intention to continue the conversation and potentially build a network of collaborative services.
-Scott Steen, SILC Research Lead