NIATx was developed under the leadership of Dr. David Gustafson along with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National Institute of Drug Abuse and others to improve treatment and recovery outcomes through process improvement. NIATx operates out of the Center for Health Enhancement System Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, College of Engineering. The Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services began working with NIATx in October 2006 when it was awarded a federal grant referred to as “Strengthening Treatment Access and Retention-State Implementation” (STAR-SI) to increase access and retention in treatment. Today, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services continues to diffuse the NIATx model of process improvement with prevention agencies and programs.
Process improvement is defined by NIATx as a set of coordinated activities to continually improve the effectiveness and efficiency of organizations’ ability to meet their missions. Processes need to be planned and managed to get desired results since 85 percent of customer-related problems are process related -- not people problems. The NIATx model allows for changes to be made and tested before adopting, adapting, or abandoning the changes, one change at a time. This embeds a culture of quality within the organization, promotes an understanding of customers, encourages group problem-solving and data-informed decision making
Why NIATx? When the focus is on cost, costs will go up. When the focus is on quality, costs will go down. NIATx is a quick, simple and almost costless way to focus on quality through process improvement. Using the five key principles of NIATx, efficiency, effectiveness, outcomes, customer satisfaction, staff morale, productivity and staff retention, both the organizational climate and the financial bottom line improve through incremental change over time using existing resources at little or no cost.
For more information about NIATx, please visit www.niatx.net.