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Overview: Ohio Consumer Outcomes Initiative


    "The Ohio Mental Health Consumer Outcomes System is an ongoing endeavor to obtain outcome measures for consumers served by Ohioís public mental health system."

    Recognizing the lack of a statewide system of data for consumer outcomes as an indicator of quality, Michael F. Hogan, Ph.D., then Director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health convened the Ohio Mental Health Outcomes Task Force (OTF) on September 12, 1996.

    The OTF, consisting of consumers, family members, providers, boards, researchers and evaluators, ODMH staff and ODADAS staff, was asked to recommend to ODMH "a standard, statewide, ongoing approach to measuring outcomes for consumers served by Ohioís public mental health system (The Ohio Mental Health Consumer Outcomes System Procedure Manual, 1-2).

    The OTF submitted its final report, Vital Signs, to Director Hogan on March 31, 1998. These efforts were followed by the development of the Outcomes Implementation Pilot Coordinating Group (OIPCG) which planned and conducted a consumer outcomes implementation pilot. Lake County, Stark County and an adult provider in Columbiana County volunteered to be the sites for the consumer outcomes pilot. The pilot sites collected data from November 1998 through the spring of 1999. Based on the experiences of the pilot sites, the OIPCG made final recommendations to Director Hogan in December 1999.


The three main purposes for using consumer outcomes are (a) to manage consumer care, (b) to improve the service delivery system, and (c) to account for public resources.  As stated in the Ohio Mental Health Consumer Outcomes System Procedure Manual, "consumer outcomes data provide additional information for individual consumers and workers/clinicians to use in assessment and service/treatment planning. Baseline outcomes data help the consumer and clinician to identify a consumerís strengths, needs, and goals and to show areas in which the worker/clinician needs to advocate on behalf of the consumer. The comparison of a consumerís baseline outcomes data with his/her outcomes at subsequent intervals indicates where changes have occurred in the consumerís life and identifies aspects of the service/treatment plan which the consumer and clinician may need to revise (Procedure Manual,1-7)."

For many clinicians and consumers, this requires a shift in the manner in which treatment is provided. In order for the Outcomes System to be used effectively, the consumer must be involved in treatment decisions and treatment planning process. The consumer, to the extent possible, will become more involved in their treatment and take ownership of their progress. The Outcomes System provides consumers and clinicians a tool to enhance the consumerís recovery.

bulletDefining Outcomes

    The OTF defines consumer outcomes as "indicators of health or well-being for an individual or family, as measured by statements or characteristics of the consumer/family, not the service system (procedure manual 1-2)." 

    The OTF collapsed indicators that were of special interest to the Ohio Consumer Outcomes Project into the following four domains.  

Domain Name: Definition:
Clinical Status This domain looks at the symptoms that a person may experience from their illness and how much they interfere with their daily living.
Quality of Life This domain's questions look at how "good" a personís life is, and if their needs are being met. An important piece of this is how much control a person has over the events in their life (empowerment).
Functional Status This domain identifies how well a person is doing in the community including areas such as work, school and social relationships.
Safety & Health This domain addresses the amount of freedom a person has from physical and/or psychological harm from self and others.

The OTF then developed specific surveys for different consumer populations and their providers.  The surveys are provided in the table below.

Population: ODMH Survey Form (PDF):

Adult consumer with severe mental illness
(Adult Consumer A & B and Provider form)
Adult Consumer Instruments

Children (child, parent and provider surveys)
Ohio Scales* (Ben Ogles)

Forms:  Youth   Parent   Worker

* the Ohio Scales instruments are copy written and require a minimal fee for use outside of Ohio

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