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Quality management and program evaluation

Over the past two decades, the field of children's mental health has learned a great deal about the causes of mental health problems in infants, children, and youth, about the impact of such problems on the community and the mental health of children once they grow up, and about how to treat and offset such problems. The benefits of such knowledge are just beginning to be realized.

In order to realize these benefits and to continuously improve its services, SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health (CCMH) engages in a number of quality management and program evaluation activities.

Client Information System

The Client Information System, developed and maintained by CCMH's Information and Communication Technology department, is the core of CCMH's integrated information system. It is designed to collect and track demographic, assessment, service, and outcome information about clients. The key objectives of the Client Information System are:
  • to support quality care and its improvement through the provision of rapid and timely access to reliable information about clients at the case and program levels, while protecting client confidentiality;
  • to support continuity of care for clients within CCMH and across other service-providing organizations, by ensuring that information needed for this purpose and duly authorized for sharing can be shared easily regardless of the platform(s) used; and
  • to support sound policy development in children's mental health, by ensuring that information stored is accurate and that the system is designed to link and report information in ways that enhance policy decisions, both at the agency and provincial levels, while protecting client confidentiality.

Quality Assurance activities

CCMH is careful to ensure that its services are consistent with what has been demonstrated to be successful. Its service providers keep up to date with what are considered to be the current best practices in the field of mental health. In addition, CCMH engages in a process of systematic activities called "Quality Assurance."

The Quality Assurance activities focus on five standards of services that reflect five of its core values (see Our Philosophy). The standards are: Responsiveness to Community Need; Individualization; Client Involvement; and Continuity of Care.

CCMH's Quality Assurance activities include: client interviews; record audits; and reviews of all crisis cases, complaints, and incident reports. The results of these activities are used to create action plans for continuous improvement.

External reviews

CCMH’s residences are licensed by relevant Ontario Government Ministries. Such licensing requires an annual inspection by Ministry personnel to ensure adherence to government regulations and to make any changes needed.

In addition, CCMH seeks the opinions of external organizations regarding the currency and quality of its overall programs and practices. It has been reviewed and found to meet the standards of both the United Way of Greater Toronto and the Council on Accreditation for Children and Family Services.

Program evaluation

Program evaluation activities at CCMH help service providers and managers to understand: the characteristics and needs of their clients; the nature, appropriateness, and effectiveness of services; and the level of satisfaction of clients, referral sources, and community partners. Three referral source/community partner surveys are conducted over each two-year period, clients are surveyed annually regarding their satisfaction and suggestions for improvement, and client demographic/history information, as well as outcome measures, are tracked for each program. In addition, all new programs are evaluated for quality and effectiveness. Results are used by CCMH and each program to continuously improve services.