Identifying At-Risk Rural Areas for Targeting Enhanced Schizophrenia Treatment

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Project completed:
September 2006
After studies established that the schizophrenia treatment most patients receive is not evidence-based, policy makers encouraged health care systems to adopt evidence-based programs to improve schizophrenia outcomes. However, early efforts to disseminate these models identified major barriers including poor access, which reduce the intensity, quality and outcomes of care. Research demonstrated that even when communities offered evidence-based practices, lack of fidelity to the treatment models increased the likelihood of hospitalization. Because public mental health systems must address multiple issues with fixed budgets, they will have to prioritize which geographic areas they target.

The goal of this project is to identify rural areas that should be targeted for early adoption of evidence-based schizophrenia treatment. This project proposes a scientifically-based method to identify counties in greatest need for quality improvement to inform national, regional, and local decision-makers about distributing scarce resources to areas which would most benefit from improved schizophrenia treatment. Implementation of evidenced-based treatments in high risk areas has the potential to simultaneously improve outcomes and reduce inpatient costs.

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