entry point for GPRA data collection. Moreover, SAIS currently serves as a data repository for more than 600 grantees, giving CSAT the capacity to report on populations served; types and locations of activities supported; effectiveness across programs for particular populations; and the characteristics and effectiveness across programs of activities related to national, subpopulation, and geographic area data and trends. The SAIS data also help improve clinical treatment programs and inform decisions on the intensity of monitoring, technical assistance needs, and funding requests. The feedback grantees receive from the system helps them evaluate and enhance their performance. In addition, the system is able to report on employment, involvement in the criminal justice system, and living situation among substance users; social, behavioral, and psychological consequences of drug and alcohol use; and other, related performance data.7

Drug Evaluation Network System (DENS) DENS (Carise et al., 1999), initially funded through the Office of National Drug Control Policy, was designed to serve as a national electronic treatment-information system, providing practical and timely clinical and administrative information on patients entering into substance-use treatment throughout the nation. The system also was designed to serve individual treatment programs by performing an electronic, standardized clinical admission assessment on every client entering treatment at the site. The questions within DENS are from the Addiction Severity Index (ASI), since it has been well tested and validated in many settings, and it is in the public domain and available without charge or restriction. Program staff administer the ASI interview and record the answers given on a lap-top computer. The raw ASI data are automatically transformed into a Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)-approved assessment, biopsychosocial narrative, and treatment plan for use by the program counselors (saving about 3 hours of work), and the raw data are automatically transmitted (without personal identifiers) to a server. Program-level summary reports are also available for directors on a quarterly basis. DENS has been in continuous operation at more than 100 experimental sites since 2003 and is now operational in more than 250 other sites. The Department of Veterans Affairs and many state and city systems use DENS.

Nationwide summit on behavioral health information management and the NHII SAMHSA and SATVA held a working summit in September 2005 to define a strategy for behavioral health information management and its role within the NHII. This summit provided an initial opportunity


Personal communication, Mady Chalk, PhD, Director, Division of Services Improvement, CSAT, SAMHSA, on July 28, 2005.

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