Leadership and investment needed to implement outcome measures

MEDIA RELEASE – Leadership and investment needed to implement outcome measures


A new discussion paper released today shows the largest barriers to delivering a successful outcome measurement framework in the community mental health sector are a lack of funding and a lack of access to data.

Measuring outcomes in community mental health: Opportunities, challenges and barriers – where to from here? shows there is broad support for the increasing use of outcome measures across the sector, but that many organisations are not properly measuring impact and need further support to implement an outcome framework.

Queensland Alliance for Mental Health CEO Kris Trott said the discussion paper was informed by a comprehensive survey investigating the usage and understanding of outcome measures across the entire sector.

“An outcome measurement is essentially the measurement of the difference that an initiative, program or organisation makes to the lives of the people they engage with,” Ms Trott said.

“Through our conversations with members, we know they are increasingly using outcome measures across their operations.

“This pressure is not only coming from funders, who are interested in better capturing the impact of the public investment being made in a service, but also because there is a growing body of evidence which shows the benefit to organisations who adopt this approach.

“But there are also many challenges to implementing this type of approach, including funding and resourcing implications, which we wanted to better understand.”

The survey responses showed:

    • Most organisations are increasingly focusing on measuring outcomes
    • Only 47% of respondents believe their organisation effectively measures outcomes
    • More than half of all organisations fund outcome measurement activities entirely through internal funds
    • Lack of funding and resourcing is perceived as the biggest barrier to properly implementing outcome measurement in organisations
    • The major challenge to implementing outcome measures across the sector is the pressure organisations are under to achieve outcomes over the short-term when real change requires a long-term approach.

Ms Trott said the sector supported moves towards outcome measurement, but that it needed further support from government to properly implement this approach and map progress against achieving stated outcomes.

“Governments should absolutely be aiming to ensure that public funds are directed to programs that provide outcomes for the people receiving those services. However, community mental health providers are facing increased pressures and need to be further supported to deliver effective outcome measurement across our sector.”