AbstractsMedical & Health Science

Development and piloting of a treatment outcome monitoring system for opioid maintenance pharmacotherapy services in New South Wales, Australia

by Peter Lawrinson

Institution: University of New South Wales
Department: Public Health & Community Medicine
Year: 2004
Keywords: Opioid habit; Chemotherapy; New South Wales
Record ID: 1071474
Full text PDF: http://handle.unsw.edu.au/1959.4/20546


Policy-makers, funding bodies and treatment providers need current, comparable and accurate information on the activities and outcomes of alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment services to respond to the needs of the sector. If meaningful comparisons are to be made at the jurisdictional level, a standardised treatment outcome monitoring system must be developed and implemented, that takes into account differences in client characteristics, treatment settings and modes of service provision. A brief, multi-dimensional instrument, the Brief Treatment Outcome Measure (BTOM) has been developed for routine, ongoing treatment outcome monitoring with clients receiving opioid maintenance pharmacotherapy (OMP) services in New South Wales (NSW), and for use in treatment evaluation research. This is the first time in Australia that an attempt has been made to integrate outcome monitoring into routine clinical practice across an AOD treatment sector. The BTOM contains thirty-three items across the domains of dependence, blood-borne virus exposure risk, drug use, health/psychological functioning and social functioning. The internal reliability of the BTOM is satisfactory; retest reliabilities for the measures are good to excellent and concurrent validation of BTOM scales yielded acceptable agreement. Average completion times of the BTOM were 14.5 minutes when administered by researchers and 21 minutes by clinicians. A 30-month feasibility trial was conducted in selected NSW OMP treatment agencies to determine the practicability of implementing an OMS; to identify issues that would impact on the quality of the data; and identify administrative processes that could facilitate implementation whilst minimising the burden on agency staff. In addition, clinicians who had administered the BTOM were surveyed 18 months into the trial to ascertain their attitudes towards the clinical utility, acceptability of content and the level of support given to them to administer the BTOM as part of routine clinical practice. Results from the trial indicate that the BTOM measures are sensitive to change over time; that the change observed is consistent with that reported in the OMP treatment outcome literature; and that clinicians, whilst generally being positively predisposed towards using the instrument, express concerns relating to the burden of administering and the clinical utility of conducting outcome monitoring.