Use of a decision support system for benchmarking analysis and organizational improvement of regional mental health care: Efficiency, stability and entropy assessment of the mental health ecosystem of Gipuzkoa (Basque Country, Spain)

Carlos R. García-Alonso, Nerea Almeda, José A. Salinas-Pérez, Mencía R. Gutiérrez-Colosía, Álvaro Iruin-Sanz, Luis Salvador-Carulla

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Abstract

Decision support systems are appropriate tools for guiding policymaking processes, especially in mental health (MH), where care provision should be delivered in a balanced and integrated way. This study aims to develop an analytical process for (i) assessing the performance of an MH ecosystem and (ii) identifying benchmark and target-for-improvement catchment areas. MH provision (inpatient, day and outpatient types of care) was analysed in the Mental Health Network of Gipuzkoa (Osakidetza, Basque Country, Spain) using a decision support system that integrated data envelopment analysis, Monte Carlo simulation and artificial intelligence. The unit of analysis was the 13 catchment areas defined by a reference MH centre. MH ecosystem performance was assessed by the following indicators: relative technical efficiency, stability and entropy to guide organizational interventions. Globally, the MH system of Gipuzkoa showed high efficiency scores in each main type of care (inpatient, day and outpatient), but it can be considered unstable (small changes can have relevant impacts on MH provision and performance). Both benchmark and target-for-improvement areas were identified and described. This article provides a guide for evidence-informed decision-making and policy design to improve the continuity of MH care after inpatient discharges. The findings show that it is crucial to design interventions and strategies (i) considering the characteristics of the area to be improved and (ii) assessing the potential impact on the performance of the global MH care ecosystem. For performance improvement, it is recommended to reduce admissions and readmissions for inpatient care, increase workforce capacity and utilization of day care services and increase the availability of outpatient care services.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0265669
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalPLoS One
Volume17
Issue number3 March
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

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