Documenting the impact of one’s services has taken on added urgency in an addiction service system that is demanding unprecedented accountability. Nowhere does the gap between what is being routinely asked for and what is traditionally delivered appear greater than in the realm of recovery support services.
As Curtiss Kolodney writes in the introductory text to his Recovery Measures website, “Often the only information we have about people who visit recovery community centers is found on the sign-in sheet at the door.”
Having had experience during his own recovery with recovery support functions (his many roles in the field have included house manager in a sober residence and program manager for the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery), Kolodney has developed an accessible software package allowing recovery support organizations to assess the impact of their programs and the progress of their clients.
Kolodney recalls the lack of reinforcement he received in the earliest days of his recovery, a journey that began around 10 years ago.
“Six months into my recovery, I was miserable,” Kolodney says. “Oftentimes somebody just needs someone else to tell them, ‘You really are doing well.’”
And it helps to have data to back that up. Recovery Measures, which Kolodney says seven service agencies of different types in the addiction and recovery community are now using, offers organizations ready access to Internet surveys and reports addressing individuals’ quality of life and “recovery capital” resources.
Kolodney says this will allow recovery support programs to begin talking specifics about the impact of the services they provide. His website states, “Applying for funding becomes difficult when all we really have is a ‘sense’ of how things are going.”
Especially in the area of recovery support services and recovery housing, he adds, organizations also need a common language for discussing outcomes and benchmarking performance. Even for a question such as how many individuals came in for services in a given month, organizations diverge in how they calculate those numbers. “We need a common vernacular in order to make comparisons,” Kolodney says.
Kolodney has contributed to the field in numerous ways since getting into recovery, in both the treatment and recovery support arenas. His work background also includes time spent in a managed care organization, where he helped to develop interventions to reduce medical spending.
Recovery Measures requires only Microsoft Office software for participants. A one-time payment and a monthly fee for support are charged to each customer.