Bobbi Douglas, MSSA, LICDC, Executive Director of OneEighty in Wooster, Ohio was among the first addiction treatment professionals to use NIATx tools and techniques to improve access to and retention in treatment.
OneEighty used to be known as STEPS at Liberty Center, and a quick search of the NIATx website turns up dozens of examples of successful NIATx projects at STEPs.
(More about the name change later.)
“Our first NIATx projects focused on our field’s dirty little secrets—long wait times, losing clients after the first couple of visits, high no-show rates,” says Douglas. “It was a relief to be able to talk about this issues with others facing the same problems, and to get the tools to address them.”
The NIATx approach has now been part of the organization’s culture for more than a decade. Douglas credits using the simple, customer-focused approach for contributing to the growth and expansion of services that OneEighty now offers.
“What NIATx did for us was to give us a common language that we could use with business leaders in the community,” says Douglas. “They thought we were unique among non-profits for using systems thinking and process improvement. NIATx gave us a lot of credibility with the business community, and that led to additional funding and improved our reputation in the community.”
Helping people change direction
As the agency continued to expand services and facilities, Douglas and her team recognized that STEPS had outgrown its brand. They enlisted the services of a local design firm to help with creating a new name and a new logo. A committee of internal and external stakeholders considered several options before deciding on OneEighty for the new name.
“Our new tagline, “Helping people change direction,” sums up what we’re doing across the agency,” adds Douglas.
OneEighty offers six core services: substance use disorder services, domestic violence and sexual assault servicers, prevention and education, housing, mental health services, as well as a rape crisis center.
Addressing the Opioid Epidemic
OneEighty participated in the recent NIATx Ohio Buprenorphine Implementation Study, which tested ways to increase use of buprenorphine for treating opioid use disorders in Ohio. After a series of NIATx rapid-cycle changes, OneEighty was able to add a physician prescriber and increase use of buprenorphine by 60 percent.
Another goal of the project was to change attitudes about medication-assisted treatment in the community. Dr. Nicole Labor, one of OneEighty’s two physician prescribers, has been instrumental in that effort.
“Dr. Labor is a physician in recovery herself, so she has a lot of credibility,” says Douglas, adding that she always learns something new from the quarterly “Addiction 101” sessions that Dr. Labor presents.
A focus on innovation
Douglas was also involved with the NIATx Innovator’s Network in the spring and summer of 2016. The design thinking tools the Innovator’s Network offered gave Douglas some new ideas about how to move a new project forward.
“This project will provide supportive services to people that we believe will improve their recovery and their quality of life,” explains Douglas.
The services will be delivered in the form of a 12-week course hat will introduce different areas of wellness: employment, nutrition, fitness, and reproductive healthcare. A recovery coach will work with participants on a plan to implement these health and lifestyle changes that support recovery.
With this project, clients will get continuing support, rather than being left on their own to figure out how to manage their lives after treatment ends.
“Being involved with NIATx has been one of the most transformative things I’ve done in my career, says Douglas. “It’s helped our organization adopt a culture of change that continues today.”