Okay, there was almost too much to cover in a single post today. Actually, hold the almost. I want to cover a few of the basic things we talked about today, but many of the rest will have to be incorporated into future posts.
Yesterday, I wrote about talks having to do with new ideas about necessary steps to improve treatment. Today, the main speaker hit on one of the factors discussed yesterday:
How can we improve the length of time that patients stay in drug treatment?
We know from research that one of the best predictors of success in treatment is longer retention. Some of today’s ideas were revolutionary and some not, but here’s a partial list –
- Plan treatment lengths that are longer – This is especially true for outpatient treatment. If patients think of longer treatment from the outset, even if they don’t hit the intended mark, they’re likely to stay longer than if no end goal was set (this is called anchoring in psychology).
- Send out appointment reminders and make phone calls – it works for dentists and doctors!
- Start treating to patient strengths instead of just trying to fix their weaknesses – If you’ve never heard of motivational interviewing, you should read up, it’s all there.
- Allow patient choice in treatment – The notion that patients shouldn’t have any say in their own treatment should be seriously questioned.
- Provide small incentives (one way this is done is known as contingency management).
- Create contracts and provide social reinforcement (like plaques and certificates).
That’s probably a good enough list for now. If we could put all these things to use, we’d already see a significant increase in client retention AND satisfaction.
I had a great day, more tomorrow!!!