Transforming practice in youth mental health services through innovative data collection processes

Presentation First Author: 
Debra Rickwood

Data collection processes for health service monitoring and reporting are usually considered burdensome by service providers and irksome by clients, and the data provided are invariably found to be poor quality by those who need to use it. The Australian innovation in youth mental health service delivery, headspace, has also been plagued by these common problems whereby data processes were not effectively meeting organisational, staff or young peoples needs. In response, headspace has developed and implemented an innovative data collection process, which has overcome many of these problems and had multiple additional benefits at many different levels. This paper describes the headspace Minimum Data Set (MDS) application, its development and the methods used to support its implementation and uptake in headspace centres. Development of the new data items and web-based data collection system required considerable collaboration as well as an extensive change management process to ensure uptake of the new system. Despite significant challenges in development and implementation, multiple benefits have been achieved by the new system, beyond those originally planned. These include benefits for young people as clients as well as for service providers and relate to improved clinical care and client participation in their health care. At the service and organisational level, the new system supports improved monitoring and benchmarking. Implementation of the MDS application reveals how innovative data processes can become a valuable tool for transforming practice in youth mental health care.

Conference Name: 
Presentation Date: 
November, 2013
See other presentations in this session: