Treatment Outcomes Profile
The National Treatment Agency has developed a treatment outcomes monitoring instrument (the Treatment Outcomes Profile or TOP) to be used at the start of treatment and in care plan reviews and reported through the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS).
Until recently, the NTA has used process and proxy outcome measures – such as waiting times and retention – to indicate the effectiveness of drug treatment, however, the NTA, treatment providers and commissioners have shared a long-term goal to establish real outcomes monitoring systems and committed to their development for 2007/08.
Researchers developed a simple instrument and ways in which it could be validated. The instrument was approved by an expert advisory group. Key workers tested the instrument with service users across a range of services. The final TOP tool was rolled out in October 2007 and is a requirement for all patients aged 16 and over receiving specialist drug treatment in England. By the summer of 2010 it was sufficiently embedded and recorded in NDTMS to justify the dissemination of quarterly outcomes reports at both a Partnership and individual provider level.
The tool looks at four key domains for drug treatment:-
1. Drug and alcohol use
2. Physical and psychological health
3. Social functioning
4. Offending and criminal involvement
These domains should already have been integral to care planning and in care plan reviews, but the challenge was to develop a simple but effective, validated tool that could be incorporated into both NDTMS and regular care plan reviews by key workers. The rollout of the TOP was supported by a range of products and further guidance and documentation has been made available alongside new reporting. There will also be an E-learning Module available for all staff involved with the TOP Process by the summer of 2011.
The NTA products can be downloaded here:-