The development of outcome indicators to assess how well a mental health system is doing to improve the lives of persons suffering from serious mental illnesses and disorders is hardly a novel concept. Work in this area is going on in places like Colorado, Pennsylvania and Iowa; and for the past several years officials at Arizona’s Division of Behavioral Health Services have been laying the groundwork for introducing outcome indicators into the public mental health system.

     In that context, MHDNA is launching a collaborative performance indicator project that is intended to be an adjunct to, and not a substitution for, work that is already underway. The long term goal is to see demonstrable improvement in the lives of consumer/survivors and family members as a result of services delivered through the public system of care in Arizona. But the more immediate goal is to encourage the adoption of emerging and innovative practices in behavioral health that are even now finding their way into systems all across the country, and in Arizona as well.

     The hope is that as these best practices find their way into the system, the culture will transition from a reactive focus on structure and process to a proactive focus on positive, demonstrable outcomes for consumers and families that are integrated across what is now a fractured system of care.

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