Validation and implementation of the Australian Treatment Outcomes Profile in specialist drug and alcohol settings


  • Anni Ryan MScMed (Clin Epi), GradDip A&DS, Manager, Ambulatory Care Team, D&A Services, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD), Jennifer Holmes BHealthSci (Nursing), Grad Dip Health Counselling, MHealthSci (Health Informatics), Clinical Nurse Consultant, SESLHD, Vi Hunt MNurs, GradCert D&A Nursing, General Manager, D&A Clinical Services, Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD), Adrian Dunlop FAChAM, PhD, Director, D&A Clinical Services, HNELHD, Kristie Mammen BPsych (Hon) Ass MAPS, Project Officer, ATOP, D&A Services, SESLHD, Rohan Holland BNurs, Research Officer, D&A Clinical Services, HNELHD, Yvonne Sutton RN, BHealth (Clinical Studies), Nurse Unit Manager, Drug Health Services, Sydney South West Area Health Service, Doungkamol Sindhusake BA, MA, GradDip Information Science, MPH, PhD, Conjoint Senior Lecturer, School of Medicine, College of Health and Science, University of Western Sydney, Gonzalo Rivas BNurs, Research Nurse, D&A Services, SESLHD, Nicholas Lintzeris BMedSci, MBBS, PhD, FAChAM, Director, D&A Services, SESLHD.


Introduction and Aims

The measurement of clinical outcomes is an important, but lacking, component of drug and alcohol treatment in Australia. This study aimed to psychometrically validate the Treatment Outcomes Profile under Australian conditions, examining implementation and feasibility issues in three public opioid treatment program clinics in NSW.

Design and Methods

The Treatment Outcomes Profile was modified to reflect Australian conditions and re-named the Australian Treatment Outcomes Profile (ATOP). The ATOP was introduced into the participating clinics and administered by clinic staff at 3-month intervals as part of routine clinical practice. Participants completed a research interview, consisting of the ATOP and a suite of ‘gold standard’ instruments assessing substance use and related health and welfare domains, in the 72 h following completion of a routine clinical ATOP. The researcher- and clinician-administered ATOPs were compared to assess interrater reliability, and the researcher-administered ATOP and ‘gold standard’ instruments were compared to assess concurrent validity. Implementation and feasibility issues were assessed using questionnaires and focus groups with clinician and clients.


The ATOP demonstrated acceptable concurrent validity and interrater reliability. It was well received by clients and clinicians, particularly for its ease of use, applicability and brevity.


The ATOP is a psychometrically valid instrument for the measurement of treatment outcomes in Australian opioid treatment populations and can feasibly be implemented as part of routine clinical practice in specialist opioid treatment program clinics. The role of the ATOP to measure outcomes in other drug and alcohol treatment modalities requires exploration. [Ryan A, Holmes J, Hunt V, Dunlop A, Mammen K, Holland R, Sutton Y, Sindhusake D, Rivas G & Lintzeris N. Validation and implementation of the Australian Treatment Outcomes Profile in specialist drug and alcohol settings. Drug Alcohol Rev 2014;33:33–42]