Outcome measurement and evaluation as a routine practice in alcohol and other drug services in Belgium (OMER-BE)
Given the lack of outcome research in alcohol and other drug (AOD) services in Belgium and the relapsing nature of AOD problems, longitudinal research is needed on the (long-term) outcomes after various types of treatment. While most outcome research has solely looked at effectiveness using objective clinical outcomes, the OMER-BE study will also incorporate patient-reported outcomes and experiences to evaluate and improve the quality of treatment. More specifically, the objectives of the study are twofold as we intend to: (1) set up and implement a methodology to systematically measure patient-reported outcomes (PROMs) and experiences (PREMs), based on a recent and internationally validated tool, the ICHOM Standard Set for Addictions; (2) measure and compare recovery indicators between different treatment modalities and assess their evolution during and after treatment.
To realize the study objectives, we will set up a non-randomized naturalistic, longitudinal cohort study (n=250) in five treatment modalities in Belgium: outpatient non-pharmacological treatment, outpatient substitution treatment, residential psychiatric treatment, therapeutic communities for addictions, and mobile outreach teams. The impact of these types of treatment will be monitored at different time points (baseline and 45, 90 and 180 days after intake) using traditional outcome measures (e.g. drug use, employment), subjective indicators of recovery (e.g. well-being, quality of life) and various PROMs and PREMs.
A comparative analysis of outcome characteristics will be presented, distinguishing between treatment modalities and baseline and follow-up (mediating) variables. Additionally, the feasibility of the implementation and integration of the ICHOM measurement tool in existing registration and monitoring systems will be assessed.
This is the first Belgian cohort study to explore alcohol and drug treatment outcomes from a recovery perspective. The findings of the study will give service providers and policy makers a methodology to systematically measure PROMs and PREMs in order to evaluate and improve the quality of treatment.