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  • Writer's pictureSteve Grant

Behavioral Health Assessments as Standards

In order for the world of finance to function there must be agreed upon transaction standards so trades can be executed and asset prices computed and compared. For example the FIX Specification. That's a long ways from the world of behavioral health and personal struggles, but there are many instruments that can effectively act as standards and allow for a common language both for clinicians and technology. When we use John Lyons's CANS assessment across seventy or eighty agencies in a California county we are using a standard protocol that is ideal for understanding the status of individuals and the organizations and therapists that treat them. In addition, instruments like the CANS create numeric scales that enable outcome measurement and manipulation that cannot easily be done with pure text descriptions of a case. Finally, standard assessments force clinicians to make sure they cover everything that's needed when they work with their clients. The breadth of some versions of the CANS assessment is extremely wide, creating a very complete picture of a person and a family. This picture, and many versions of that picture over time can all be compared to make sure that attention is paid appropriately and progress is being made.

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