2019 Outcomes: A Year In Review

At Columbus Park, we are committed to our ongoing provision of expertly delivered evidence-based eating disorder treatment. As we’ve reported in previous posts, we diligently follow patient progress by administering brief but thorough questionnaires* at regular intervals throughout treatment. The feedback we get from these questionnaires, helps us shape the treatment and monitor how our patients are responding. Additionally, we can evaluate and publish our results as a practice so both current and prospective patients can see our outcomes and get a clear indication of the strength of our therapeutic work.

A Review of 2019 Outcomes

As the year came to a close, we completed a review of 2019 outcomes and are proud to report on our exceptional results and positive trends that will guide us going forward.

Meaningful Results: Perhaps the most important outcome we track is the overall effect size of treatment at Columbus Park. We track the positive change our patients experience between intake and discharge (and at regular points along the way) using severity adjusted effect size, which means that our measurements take into account differences in severity of symptoms and other individual variations between patients. Overall, the improvement score (measured in terms of severity adjusted effect size) for treatment at Columbus Park in 2019 was .97, which is widely considered to be well above the threshold for highly effective treatment. It’s also notable that this same improvement score applies when analyzing our treatment outcomes between 2015 and 2019, demonstrating a consistent trend of high-quality, individually tailored, and highly effective treatment.

A Broad Reach and Time Limited Treatment: In 2019, Columbus Park saw 165 patients in our outpatient practice with average treatment length being 19 weeks.  These numbers reflect Columbus Park’s growing reach. In 2018, our case count was 98.  The treatment length of 19 weeks indicates that we are treating and discharging patients – with good outcomes (see next section) – within a relatively brief time frame – on average 5 months.

We’re glad to report these promising outcomes as we head toward the new year, and we’re eager to continue providing evidence-based eating disorder treatment to a wide population of patients throughout 2020 and beyond.

For those of you with a little science geek in you, here is some more information about Columbus Park’s outcome tracking tool.

The System: Columbus Park works with a consulting and data analytics firm, The Center for Clinical Informatics (CCI), to guide our outcome collection practices.  CCI specializes in the measurement of treatment outcomes for behavioral health care.  CCI connected us to the ACORN clinical information system (ACORN Toolkit), a comprehensive clinical information system that contains outcome data for close to one million episodes of care, and almost 3 million completed questionnaires. Use of this platform has been shown to improve treatment outcomes over time. (Brown, Simon, Cameron & Minami; 2015).

The Questionnaire: To develop reliable questionnaires, ACORN uses an inventory of 394 items which have been tested and validated for use in behavioral health care.  From these items, Columbus Park was guided in narrowing down to 11 items/questions that relate to several different domains: symptoms, social, functioning, risk, substance use, and therapeutic alliance.  The final survey questionnaire consists of eleven questions about the frequency of problems and symptoms (e.g. “In the last week, how often did you feel preoccupied with your shape and/or weight? 0 = Never; 1 = Hardly ever; 2 = Sometimes; 3 = Often; 4 = Very Often”).  The questionnaire is delivered on a tablet computer at the beginning of each treatment session.   When the items on the questionnaires are viewed collectively, they provide a measure of what’s called Global Distress.

Global Distress is the factor common to virtually all patient self-report outcome measures used in psychotherapy, and it allows Columbus Park data to be compared against a database of over 750,000 cases.  Multivariate statistics are used to calculate projected change and what’s called the severity adjusted effect size.  Essentially, effect size is a measure of the magnitude – or size – of the treatment effect.  ACORN Criteria for Effectiveness (ACE) sets 0.5 effect size as the threshold for “effective” and .8 as the threshold for “highly effective” treatment.