Measuring Return on Investment (ROI) has been used in traditional business, investment and marketing discussions for decades. In many cases determining ROI was the factor in whether or not a business would succeed or fail or whether or not a particular marketing strategy worked to produce the desired result in brand recognition or sales. It’s Particularly useful in measuring success over time and taking the guesswork out of making future business decisions.
The ability to calculate return on investment is extremely valuable for any business, regardless of size or industry and for most it is easy to grasp the idea of ROI using this simple calculation:
ROI = (Current Value of Investment – Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment
And while ROI is a a somewhat simple and straightforward measurement tactic for businesses to help determine profitability of an expenditure, those of us working in behavioral health struggle to find an equivalent in measuring a client’s progress as it relates to their well-being throughout treatment.
In standard medicine we can measure success in treatment fairly easily depending upon the case. If someone breaks their arm they typically get an x-ray, have a cast put on and wait for the bone to heal, all the while checking back in with their doctor to measure the treatment and healing progress. When the cast comes off it is easy for us to assume that the treatment worked. If a person is diagnosed with high blood pressure, a doctor may prescribe medication as part of a treatment plan combined with dietary and lifestyle changes. Frequent blood pressure checks and visits with their doctor help continually measure the progress of the treatment plan and re-assessment helps document and determine if the designated treatment plan is working.
In behavioral health it is much more difficult to measure success in a client dealing with depression, anxiety or any other number of behavioral health disorders. The primary way clinicians and practitioners measure progress in behavioral health is through the use of routine assessments. Assessments, depending on the type, are administered at regular intervals throughout a determined treatment period. During these assessments, clients are asked a number of questions and the variance of their answers at each interval attempt to tell a story as to whether or not their conditions are getting better or potentially worse.
What if we took an ROI approach to the behavioral health practice? What if we could better determine Return on Assessment (ROA)? Whether we are looking at ROI or ROA the primary component to this process is the collection and measurement of data. With ROI it is simply a dollars in/dollars out equation but assessment data presents a much more complex equation for us to determine success or failure. Assessment scores are logged, matched to past assessments and through time the clinician or social worker works to determine if they are making progress with a client.
While assessments hold a tremendous amount of valuable data for a client, the results and scores are hard to quantify and interpret in determining either a proper potential treatment plan success vs. decline of existing conditions.
Opeeka is working to change the tide in how assessments are both administered and interpreted. Our goal is to make the process of completing the assessment easier either through an online interface or by scanning or taking a photo of a paper assessment which is digitized and stored in our Person-Centered Intelligence database. From our Person-Centered Intelligence database, we utilize complex algorithms and visualization to help easily identify trends in assessments gathered over time and help our customers better evaluate and determine the ongoing care of their clients. P-CIS empowers an organization’s assessment data to help measure the impact that organization has on the lives of the people it serves.
So one way to look at ROA is:
ROA = (The Value of Knowing You Improved Lives – Cost of Assessing Improvement) / Cost of Assessing Improvement
or another way to look at it:
ROA = (The Value of Improvement in a Person’s Health – Cost of Treatment) / Cost of Treatment
What an organization can do with that knowledge is priceless.