Data-Driven Mental Health Treatment Programs and their Outcomes [Interview][Transcript]

Jennifer_Steiner_Mental_Health_TreatmentsGuest: Jennifer Steiner
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Jennifer Steiner has a history of excellence in healthcare delivery, and a proven record of success. Before becoming CEO at InnerChange, Jennifer served in executive roles for leading healthcare providers across the country. Now, she is making it her life’s work to foster a difference in the lives of the families InnerChange serves. Jennifer holds an MBA from the University of Michigan – Stephen M. Ross School of Business, and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from Colorado College.

Segment overview: Jennifer Steiner, CEO of InnerChange, a family of residential and outpatient mental health treatment programs for adolescents, young adults and their families, talks about data driven treatments and outcomes.

Health Professional Radio – Driven Mental Health Treatment

Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio, thank you so much for joining us today, I’m your host Neal Howard. I’m in studio today with Jennifer Steiner. Now, Jennifer is the CEO of InnerChange, a family and residential and outpatient mental health treatment programs for adolescents and young adults and their families. And she’s here today to talk about data-driven treatments and their outcomes. There’s a lot of accountability that needs to be fostered in the current mental healthcare industry and Jennifer is here today to talk with us about some of the changes and how data is making some of those changes happen. Welcome to Health Professional Radio, Jennifer.

Jennifer Steiner: Thank you Neal, it’s a pleasure to be here.

N: Thank you, thank you. Now, when we’re talking about data-driven treatments in the current healthcare industry, what exactly are we talking about?

J: Great question. The word ‘data’ is being used a lot now in mental health. I think there is a growing awareness that we need to be a little bit more precise and to be accountable to the care we’re given, that we need to show that the care we’ve provided has actually worked. But when we speak about data-driven treatment, we’re really taking that a step further, Neal. So, in addition to having data to show that the treatment that we provided worked, that there was actually change in the client or the patient throughout the course of treatment. We are actually using data to direct the way that we’re providing treatment. So, we are collecting hundreds of points of data, all along the course of treatment and a residential program that we provide, the client is often with us for up to 12 months. So we are collecting data as frequently as daily to determine how the client is doing and then our treatment teams use that data weekly. They look at all sorts of points of data and they reference that as they make decisions about what to do next in the course of treatment.

N: Electronic data, what types of data are we collecting?

J: That’s a great question. So, much of the data that we collect is either self-reported by the patient data or data that is collected by the clinician on the patient. And it is more than just notes, we’re actually using internationally validated assessments on the diagnostic survey, the primary presenting diagnosis on other co-occurring diagnosis, etc. So, it’s very objective, it’s very structured, it’s not through general observation.

N: We mentioned the word accountability early on. In your practice there at InnerChange, are we talking accountability to the patients themselves, or the researchers, or the payors, who exactly are we talking about this accountability and who benefits from this data collection the most?

J: I would say we have accountability to a number of constituents. Most importantly, we have accountability to the client and their family. So we have to able to demonstrate that the treatment we’re providing is actually making a difference. So we are touching based with that client’s family, as regularly as by weekly, we’re communicating how the client is doing. We have enough data within our systems to understand what a normal course of treatment would look like for someone with that diagnosis. So when we speak to a family we can say, ‘Okay, well most people with this diagnosis at this point in treatment are here and here’s where your child is on the course treatment and here’s some of the changes that we’re going to be doing in order to get them back to where they need to be and we’re very confident in how we’re treating your child and therefore we’re going to continue this course.’ But I would say in addition to that, we are accountable to insurance providers that are a payer for a particular client, we are demonstrating that things are improving, and we’re also accountable to ourselves. We have clinicians and teams that are treating a patient and we’re not seeing the kind of progress that we need. We make changes in the person, we may need to remove someone from a team because they’re not being effective or we may need to make some adjustments on how they’re being manage.

N: How much leeway do you give your practitioners to adapt your CORE methodologies to specific clients take this out, leave this in, and things to that nature or is everything written in stone, for lack of a better term?

J: Yes. We call this to both, Neal. And so, we are very rooted in data and we know certain things work without a doubt. And at the same time, we know that we are dealing with the human condition here and there is a great deal of artistry required. The very best clinicians know how to be creative in the moment and to insight change in a patient or a client. So, we’re doing both and there’s certainly a great a deal of autonomy given to a clinician to do what they need to do within the therapeutic experience to insight change.

N: How much training do your physicians receive as far as understanding cultural diversities among clients and then adapting the methodology?

J: All of the clinicians that are employed by InnerChange have gone through, they’re all certified and have an education, and degrees in their therapeutic treatment. So certainly, much of the training that they’ve received has been through that, so whether it’s bachelor’s level or master’s level depending on their position and in addition to that, InnerChange has invested heavily in training for our CORE methodology. Folks receive a training right out of the gates as one may join our company and then they go through vigorous training which can be upwards of 2 to 3 to 4 days per year whether…in our CORE methodology. So, I’m actually quite proud of the amount of investment that we’ve made to ensure that our folks are trained very, very well.

N: That dealing with families, how often do you run into challenges? Getting the family to understand this counter-intuitive approach, this data-driven type of treatment and this hands on when maybe they’ve come to you because other things didn’t work but there still kind of ingrained in what they were used to.

J: That’s very …Neal. So, as I expressed to you, I think in the previous interview, we believed passionately that the family system needs to be healed for things to improve in a sustainable way. So, a family that might come to us without really much of the willingness to participate can be quite problematic. And that’s actually a requirement admission into our programs, if we have a family here staunchly opposed to participating, we may actually choose to not admit that family and that patient cause know it does not work. So, it’s generally a requirement that we make. As far as the data driven component goes Neal, I’m finding more and more people in our world, are taking their healthcare really into their own hands and we are getting pretty sophisticated folks coming to us and saying, ‘I want to see the data, show me what you’re doing works’. They’re really advocating for themselves and their families and I’m excited about that. I think we have of country of folks emerging that are really going over to require healthcare providers, even in the outside of mental health to be accountable for what they’re providing to them.

N: And where can our listeners go and get more information about InnerChange?

J: You’re free to come to our website, it’s actually an online resource for all mental health-related issues for adolescents and young adults and that is at

N: Great. It has been a pleasure talking with you today Jennifer.

J: Great, thanks for the time Neal.

N: Thank you. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard, in studio with Jennifer Steiner, CEO of InnerChange, a family and residential and outpatient mental health treatment program for adolescents, young adults, and their families. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at and also at, and you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.

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