Getting Back to What Matters
Policy and practice across the UK and beyond is committed to improving the lives of people who use services and unpaid carers. Over the past decade there has been a growing commitment within the health and social care system to shift away from an exclusive focus on inputs, processes and outputs to give a more prominent focus to personal outcomes. The term personal outcomes is used to refer to both the impact of services and supports on a person’s life and on what matters to people, and understanding why these things matter.
Reconciling Competing Information Demands
Policy advocates that practitioners engage with individuals about their outcomes during assessment and review processes and use this information to inform individual support planning, service improvement, planning and commissioning, and performance management.
It has however been well documented that developing approaches to the recording, analysis and use of personal outcomes information is problematic. In particular, organisations are struggling to reconcile the need for detailed, contextualised information on individual experience to inform individual planning and service improvement with the need to aggregate information on personal outcomes to be used for decision making at organisational and national levels.
Building on an Ongoing Developmental Process
The Meaningful and Measurable project is part of an ongoing process of developing a personal outcomes approach within the health and social care. It builds on a 7-year programme of knowledge exchange and service improvement that has been led by two of the researchers (Dr Ailsa Cook and Dr Emma Miller) initially funded by the Joint Improvement Team in Scotland.
This programme, known as Talking Points, has involved work with more than 130 organisations to support the development of outcomes focussed practice.
A key finding emerging from the Talking Points programme is that limited capacity and skills in the analysis of qualitative and quantitative personal outcomes information within health and social care organisations constitutes a significant barrier to effective outcomes focussed working.
This issue is exacerbated by the predominance of performance cultures that prioritise consistency, comparability and measurability of information over meaning.
More information is available at our sister website http://personaloutcomescollaboration.org/