Six years ago, my beautiful 24-year-old daughter was drinking to lethal levels almost every night. Despite having been to several excellent treatment programs, she relapsed again and again. In desperation, my husband and I dug deep into our retirement savings to send her to a long-term treatment program specializing in identifying and dealing with the trauma underlying her addictive behaviors. I am deeply grateful that, as a result of the special treatment she received, my daughter has now celebrated four years of sobriety and succeeded in completely turning her life around.
Frankly, though, finding this program was a matter of luck. A neighbor had happened to pull me aside during a picnic many months before to tell me about this program. Amazingly, during the 16 panic-filled hours between when my daughter was admitted to and released from the E.R., I remembered the conversation and was able to talk my daughter into attending.
Six years later, as the number of drug overdose deaths climbs ever higher, finding the best treatment is still a matter of luck. But it doesn’t have to be.
Data has the power to transform the behavioral health care field, just like it has changed the way we listen to music, catch a ride from the airport and choose which book to buy. Searchable databases, like the one I created in 2015 for Conquer Addiction, can help patients and their families find excellent treatment programs that meet their needs. (Unfortunately, so few treatment programs were measuring and voluntarily reporting their success rates three years ago that I decided to postpone promoting Conquer Addiction until the industry caught up).
But helping patients find the best treatment is just the beginning of the benefits that the smart use of data will bring to addiction and mental health treatment. Academic research has proven that providing clinicians with patient-reported data helps patients get better faster during treatment by identifying those who aren’t progressing well. And as the use of post-treatment outcomes research becomes widespread, we’ll be able to determine which types of treatment are most effective with different patient populations.
In fact, I believe so passionately in the ability of data to improve treatment that I’ve self-funded the development of INSIGHT Addiction™, INSIGHT Behavioral™, INSIGHT Detox™, and RECOVERY 20/20™, and worked without pay for the last 2½ years. Today Vista offers easy-to-use, real-time patient monitoring to help patients get better faster during treatment as well as post-treatment follow-up research that measures and benchmarks success rates for different types of treatment. Click here to find out more.
What’s really exciting is that we are just at the starting gate of learning how to use data to improve the effectiveness of addiction and mental health treatment. I anticipate that within the next several years, families will be able to choose the best treatment program for their loved one to attend based upon published success rates, and that researchers will be able to identify the treatment modalities and post-treatment behaviors that result in the best long-term outcomes for different types of patients. This promise is what drives every member of the Vista team (almost all of whom have been personally touched by addiction or severe mental illness) to go the extra mile for our clients every day.
If you share our passion and want to be a leader in using patient-reported data to improve behavioral health care, let’s join forces. Please call me or any member of our team at (800) 215-3201 or set up a time to chat. Thank you for all the hard work you do helping families and their loved ones!