Ontario common assessment of need community of interest

The Ontario Common Assessment of Need (OCAN) is the evidenced-based, standardized assessment for the community mental health sector. OCAN promotes a consumer/client driven approach with the inclusion of a self-assessment. The tool supports conversations with consumers about their strengths, needs, and actions to address their unmet needs.

The OCAN CoI is led by Oak Centre, with support from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s (CAMH) EENet and Community Care Information Management (CCIM).  
The OCAN CoI’s knowledge exchange goals are:

  • Increase awareness of the project and its value to Ontario’s mental health and addictions system.
  • Increase interest in using OCAN to inform service delivery, planning and policy decisions.
  • Increase quality of client information collected in OCAN to support client care.

The OCAN CoI’s objectives are:

  • Provide a forum for sharing OCAN related information.
  • Share recovery-oriented practices using OCAN that enhances a consumer-centred approach.
  • Share challenges and strategies related to OCAN use.
  • Share approaches to using OCAN data for quality improvement planning at various levels.

An OCAN CoI working group has been established to provide leadership and support to accomplish the outlined goals and objectives and will meet on a regular basis. The OCAN CoI working group has approximately 20 members and includes representatives from the following stakeholder groups:

  • Persons with lived experience 
  • Community based organizations
  • Hospital organizations
  • Researchers
  • LHINs

Stakeholders using OCAN who may be interested in participating in the activities of the CoI include:

  • Persons with lived experience;
  • Peer support workers supporting persons with lived experience;
  • Mental health and addictions service providers;
  • Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) mental health and e-health leads;
  • Representatives from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and Community Care Information Management;
  • Ontario Peer Development Initiative;
  • Scientists analyzing OCAN data to better understand characteristics and needs of client populations using community mental health services;
  • Connex Ontario (their information on organizations is built into the OCAN tool);
  • Other networks interested in OCAN use and OCAN data.

The OCAN CoI has been quite active since its inception.  Some examples of activities to date are:

  • The development of an overall knowledge exchange plan. 
  • A webinar hosted by EENet with a panel of OCAN users as the presenters. The webinar was delivered in May 2015 to approximately 70 participants.
  • Promising Practice Article: A summary of interviews with three organizations about their experiences using OCAN. The article can be found here: http://eenet.ca/products-tools/how-are-ontario-agencies-using-the-ontari...
  • The development of the EENet Connect online collaborative space specifically for OCAN (eenetconnect.ca). This space allows stakeholders to share OCAN related information/resources that support service delivery and quality improvement plans such as OCAN resource materials, webinar slide decks, training materials, and so on.  The working group is currently populating the space and plans to open it up to anyone interested in OCAN soon.  
Project Contact: 

Lead organization

The Oak Centre, with support from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s (CAMH) Evidence Exchange Network (EENet) and Community Care Information Management (CCIM)

CoI lead

Ru Tauro oakcentre [at] bellnet [dot] ca

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