According to best practices and industry standards, a key indicator of quality treatment care is having valid and reliable measurement systems in place to track patients' response to treatment. In the absence of standardized metrics, it is impossible to adequately document treatment outcomes and demonstrate any kind of meaningful impact. National recognition of the importance of protracted outcomes monitoring is evidenced by a number of leading health care payers (e.g., Aetna, Anthem, Inc., Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Magellan Health, UnitedHealth Group, among others)—who collectively serve nearly a quarter of a billion patients—already showing their commitment to the “National Principles of Care” for the treatment of addiction. The Principles were derived from the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, and are backed by decades of empirical research. Of particular interest, 1 of the 8 guiding Principles specifically addresses the need for long-term engagement following the primary treatment episode with regular monitoring of outcomes to adjust the nature and intensity of care accordingly.
With AiRPRO™, patients receive scheduled contacts at pre-determined intervals following discharge from the primary treatment episode to complete a comprehensive assessment of multiple areas of functioning. Given we know that recovery encompasses more than simply cessation of alcohol and drug use, all AiRPRO™ systems also assess for improvements in health and social functioning, as well as reductions in numerous threats to public health and safety. Our outcomes monitoring systems use a multi-domain approach in which key data from various relevant areas of interest (e.g., clinical, employment, social, legal, quality of life, patient satisfaction) are collected from patients on a regular basis through the initial 1-year period after discharge from the primary level of treatment care. That is, in addition to traditional measures of substance use (class, quantity, frequency, route of administration, etc.) and maintenance treatment medication dosage and compliance (if applicable), patients are assessed for several relapse risk indicators from other pertinent domains of functioning. Relapse risk indicators include formal, psychometrically sound measures of craving, readiness to change, motivation, depression, etc. Patients are also administered structured questionnaires assessing health care utilization, occupational functioning, legal involvement, social functioning, quality of life, and motor vehicle accidents, among other areas. Personalization of AiRPRO™ monitoring systems in which specific outcomes areas are targeted is also an available option. Providers may elect to go with our standard outcomes interview, or hand-select which domains and/or established measures to include.
What are the benefits of AiRPRO™?
Documentation of Outcomes: With the current landscape concerning the delivery and reimbursement of substance use disorder treatment services, the ability for treatment providers to systematically monitor and document treatment outcomes remains of paramount importance. Treatment providers are increasingly being tasked with the expectation to not only measure patient performance, but to demonstrate the success of their clinical services. At the industry level, addictions treatment providers are operating in a highly competitive environment in which cost and efficiency are no longer the main selling point; quality of services now takes precedence. At the patient level, individuals seeking addictions treatment care, as well as their families, are becoming increasingly more savvy and informed in their search for a treatment provider with documented evidence of effectiveness to ensure they achieve the best possible outcome. Routine outcomes monitoring with quarterly feedback regarding treatment effectiveness and patient satisfaction may also improve the overall quality of treatment care and ensure accountability to stakeholders by monitoring outcomes and maintaining treatment quality.
Reduces Staff Burden: Unfortunately, in the cost-conscious times in which many addictions treatment providers operate, it is unrealistic to expect counselors to routinely collect outcomes data from their caseload following treatment discharge in addition to their typical day-to-day clinical responsibilities. Despite the tremendous value in monitoring patients post-discharge and documenting outcomes, monitoring efforts are often hindered by relying on existing clinical staff to collect follow-up data considering that their primary responsibility understandably revolves around providing direct evidence-based patient care. Engaging clinical staff in the process of monitoring patient outcomes can also be difficult.
Cost Effective: Contracting your outcomes monitoring services is a viable, cost-effective option. AiRPRO™ affords you with an entire team of telehealth specialists and doctoral-level researchers with the capacity to conduct more thorough and frequent follow-up assessments than would be possible with existing program staff or alumni coordinators. In other words, most treatment providers who ask existing staff to contact patients and collect outcomes data often lack the capacity to handle the patient volume we can accommodate. In addition, AiRPRO™ offers quarterly reporting from a PhD-level clinical researcher and licensed clinical psychologist with the experience and qualifications necessary to produce timely, clinically-meaningful reports, who essentially serves as a personal consultant to your treatment program(s).
Linkage back to the Provider: Routine contacts completed throughout the initial 1-year period post-discharge offers the added benefit of allowing our team to identify patients in crisis or those who may have recently experienced a lapse or relapse. Such patients may be appropriate for placement at a higher level of care (e.g., residential, intensive-outpatient). Patients appropriate for—or expressing interest in—re-admission can therefore be live transferred to the provider’s Admissions Department to facilitate the process of re-admission without delay.
Patient Support: Planned contacts initiated by our telehealth specialists provide patients support, direction, and personal accountability as they transition from the acute phase of care and leave the “safe” structured confines of treatment to return to their home environment (i.e., the “real world”). AiRPRO™ also allows the opportunity for exchanging program-specific information (alumni events, etc.), monitoring progress and patient adherence, recognizing complications and barriers to recovery early, and providing reassurance to patients throughout the continuing care treatment phase. Routine contacts with clinical staff in which patients receive ongoing support also has the potential to reduce stigma.
What is AiRPRO™?
AiRPRO™ is a turn-key outsourced outcomes monitoring service developed by licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Steven Proctor and offered through a joint partnership between PRO Health Group & AiR Healthcare Solutions. AiRPRO™ is a comprehensive, protracted outcomes monitoring system for addictions treatment providers involving a collection of solutions:
Who delivers AiRPRO™?
AiRPRO™ is a service offered through a joint partnership between PRO Health Group & AiR Healthcare Solutions. Under the direction of Dr. Steven Proctor (Principal, PRO Health Group; Chief Research Officer, AiR Healthcare Solutions), telehealth specialists contact patients at designated 3-month intervals through 12 months following discharge from the primary treatment episode (e.g., residential, intensive-outpatient). All quarterly reports are prepared by Dr. Proctor personally, who proudly takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of all analyses.
How much does AiRPRO™ cost?
AiRPRO™ starts at less than $16 a month per patient for 12 months of post-discharge monitoring ($185 per patient annually) for treatment providers with a monthly patient discharge volume of 100+ patients. The cost for providers with a monthly patient discharge volume of 50-100 is $200 per patient. In addition, there is a one-time initial activation fee to cover the efforts associated with customizing and implementing your personalized outcomes monitoring system.
How does AiRPRO™ work?
[1.] Each month, you send us a password-protected patient report generated from your electronic health record (EHR) system containing, at a minimum, all discharges from the previous month with patient contact information (e.g., primary phone, secondary phone, primary email, secondary email). Should you desire a detailed demographic/clinical profile each quarter of the patients served, we will also require selected demographic and clinical variables for reporting purposes. Often times, EHR systems are capable of automatically generating such a report and sending to us electronically, thereby eliminating any staff burden on your part.
[2.] We take it from there as we handle all patient contacts and follow-up assessments at 3-month intervals through 12 months post-discharge.
[3.] You receive a comprehensive Outcomes Summary Report documenting outcomes based on the collected data on a quarterly basis. Each quarterly report is cumulative in that all previous patient data are included in subsequent reports.
† Scholarly Publication Option. In addition to quarterly Outcomes Summary Reports prepared personally by Dr. Proctor, providers have the option of possibly commissioning a scientific article suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed academic journal. One or more scholarly articles or peer-reviewed publications based on a treatment provider’s services––and derived from the provider’s patient data––will prove extremely useful for a number of reasons. From a sheer marketing standpoint, given that a peer-reviewed journal will not publish articles that fail to meet the standards established for a particular discipline, peer-reviewed articles that are accepted for publication exemplify the best research practices in a field and are held in higher esteem relative to articles published in magazines, newsletters, online blogs, or other less formal outlets. Dr. Proctor has an extensive publication record and has published a number of peer-reviewed articles in top scientific journals based on clinical and outcomes data from numerous treatment agencies. Providers interested in exploring options for publication communicate with Dr. Proctor directly regarding possible areas of investigation and the potential for publication.
The cost for writing one scientific article suitable for publication is determined at the discretion of Dr. Proctor. Total cost applies only to the work directly related to the production of the manuscript. That is, following manuscript completion, Dr. Proctor does not charge for the additional time required to identify an appropriate peer-reviewed academic journal, format the manuscript accordingly per journal guidelines, revise if accepted for publication pending minor revisions, or identify another potential journal should the submitted manuscript initially fail to be accepted for publication.
Just as the treatment of hypertension involves regular assessment of blood pressure, addiction treatment providers must routinely collect "addiction & mental health vital signs."