Achievements in mental health outcome measurement in Australia: Reflections on progress made by the Australian Mental Health Outcomes and Classification Network (AMHOCN)

Burgess, Philip, Coombs, Tim, Clarke, Adam, Dickson, Rosemary and Pirkis, Jane (2012) Achievements in mental health outcome measurement in Australia: Reflections on progress made by the Australian Mental Health Outcomes and Classification Network (AMHOCN). International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 6 4.1-4.11.


Author Burgess, Philip
Coombs, Tim
Clarke, Adam
Dickson, Rosemary
Pirkis, Jane
Title Achievements in mental health outcome measurement in Australia: Reflections on progress made by the Australian Mental Health Outcomes and Classification Network (AMHOCN)
Journal name International Journal of Mental Health Systems   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1752-4458
Publication date 2012-05
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1186/1752-4458-6-4
Volume 6
Start page 4.1
End page 4.11
Total pages 11
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed Central
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract Background: Australia’s National Mental Health Strategy has emphasised the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of services, and has promoted the collection of outcomes and casemix data as a means of monitoring these. All public sector mental health services across Australia now routinely report outcomes and casemix data. Since late-2003, the Australian Mental Health Outcomes and Classification Network (AMHOCN) has received, processed, analysed and reported on outcome data at a national level, and played a training and service development role. This paper documents the history of AMHOCN’s activities and achievements, with a view to providing lessons for others embarking on similar exercises.
Method: We conducted a desktop review of relevant documents to summarise the history of AMHOCN.
Results: AMHOCN has operated within a framework that has provided an overarching structure to guide its activities but has been flexible enough to allow it to respond to changing priorities. With no precedents to draw upon, it has undertaken activities in an iterative fashion with an element of ‘trial and error’. It has taken a multi-pronged approach to ensuring that data are of high quality: developing innovative technical solutions; fostering ‘information literacy’; maximising the clinical utility of data at a local level; and producing reports that are meaningful to a range of audiences.
Conclusion: AMHOCN’s efforts have contributed to routine outcome measurement gaining a firm foothold in Australia’s public sector mental health services.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published under Commentary. Article # 4.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
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