As recovery community organizations expand into direct services and carve a meaningful role in the addiction service system, they become increasingly aware of the need to back up the importance of their daily activities with hard data. I spoke this week with the director of evaluation and outcomes for a southeastern Pennsylvania organization that is benefiting from a software tool for recovery support organizations that we wrote about a few weeks ago.
Stacey Conway is with the Council of Southeast Pennsylvania, Inc., a National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) affiliate whose recovery support arm is the Pennsylvania Recovery Organization—Achieving Community Together (PRO-ACT). She says her organization finds itself a few months into intensive data collection using the Recovery Measures system established by Curtiss Kolodney, a former program manager at the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery.
“We may not be doing clinical documentation, but we’re still accountable for the outcomes we’re showing,” says Conway.
PRO-ACT began primarily as a recovery advocacy organization, but now offers direct services in the realm of recovery planning, coaching and mentoring. It has received various grants under initiatives such as the federal Access to Recovery (ATR) and Recovery Community Services Program (RCSP), and currently operates out of five locations in Philadelphia and Bucks County.
Given all of this activity, Conway says the organization needs precise information on what recovering individuals are coming in to receive, so as to inform its programmatic decisions. Also, “We’re able to track both hard outcomes and some new things, like quality-of-life improvements,” she says.
Conway adds that her organization has worked with Kolodney to customize the software tool to address its particular analytical needs. She adds that she enjoys the opportunity to identify particular client attributes and locations and then receive a snapshot of these individuals’ activities and outcomes through the Recovery Measures system.
If recovery community organizations can make inroads in a data analysis process that often still stymies many longtime addiction treatment facilities, they can go a long way toward becoming a formidable presence in the evolving systems of care.