In this article:

Introduction and Welcome to NADAbase.

Video Introduction


Welcome to NADAbase!

NADAbase is an online client treatment and outcomes database built and supported by NADA for its membership. NADA, is the Network of Alcohol and other Drugs Agencies, and is the peak organisation for the non government drug and alcohol sector in NSW. NADA represents over 100 organisational members that provide a broad range of services including drug and alcohol health promotion, early intervention, treatment, and after-care programs. These community based organisations operate throughout NSW. They comprise both large and small services that are diverse in their structure, philosophy and approach to drug and alcohol service delivery.

NADA’s goal is to advance and support non government drug and alcohol organisations in NSW to reduce drug and alcohol related harm to individuals, families and the community.

NADA provides a range of programs and services that focus on sector representation and advocacy, workforce development, information management and data collection, governance and management support, plus a range of capacity development initiatives. Further information about NADA, its programs and services is available on the NADA website at

These online tutorials are designed to assist you in navigating NADAbase and to effectively input, extract and report on the client data you collect. The videos presented here will provide you with a self-guided tour of NADAbase and its functions, with the aim of ensuring ethical, accurate and effective data input that can assist you to provide the best, evidence-based treatment, you can to your clients.

It is recommended that you and your organisation spend some time identifying the types of outcomes you are expecting to achieve for your clients and develop a data management strategy, as part of this process. If you require more support in this area then NADA recommends that you explore the NADA resource Enhanced Performance Management – click on this link to read the resource, or check out the NADA Events Page to see when the next Enhanced Performance Management training workshop is being held.

NADAbase incorporates the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National and NSW Minimum Data Set data and the Client Outcomes Management System (COMS) which you can learn more about in their related tutorials – check the menu button at the top left of this page to find out more.

The NADAbase User Guide includes information on:

  • Logging on to NADAbase and accessing the main menu options

  • Instructions for entering client information into the database and generating reports

  • Adding and updating treatment episode details

  • General guidelines for administration of the COMS questionnaires

  • Instruction for interpreting and scoring questionnaire data

  • NADA security and back up procedures

Not included

  • Clinical guidance to service providers as to intake and assessment processes

  • Clinical guidance to service providers when completing the COMS questionnaire (although some general guidelines and aids to interpretation are included).


Privacy and confidentiality

Whenever data regarding individuals, service provider organisations or funding departments is collected or disseminated, privacy and confidentiality issues must be considered. Clients should be informed as to what information is collected, by whom, how it will be used and their rights in relation to it. For more detailed information, please refer to the 2015 Data Dictionary and Collection Guidelines for the NSW Minimum Data Set for Drug and Alcohol Treatment Services (NSW Health 2005).


A number of abbreviations are used in this tutorial and you will provided with them as they are introduced. However, there is an abbreviations guide provided below.

Background material provided

Abbreviation Description
AATOM Australian Alcohol Treatment Outcome Measures
ADCA Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia
AODTS Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services
BBV Blood-Borne Virus
BTOM Brief Treatment Outcome Measure
BTOM-C Brief Treatment Outcome Measure- Concise
COMS Client Outcome Management System
DADC Drug and Alcohol Data Coordinator
DATS Drug and Alcohol Treatment services
DoHA Department of Health and Ageing
DSM Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
EUROHIS QoL-8 See WHO QoL-8, below
ICD International Classification of Diseases
InforMH Information and reporting branch of the Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Office NSW Health
IT Information Technology
K10 Kessler 10
K10+ Kessler 10 Plus
LHD Local Health District
MDS Minimum Data Set
MDS DATS Minimum Data Set for Drug and Alcohol Treatment Services
MERIT Magistrates Early Referral Into Treatment
MHCC Mental Health Coordinating Council
MHDAO Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Office
MH-OAT Mental Health Outcomes & Assessment Tools
NADA Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies
NDARC National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (University of New South Wales)
NGO Non-Government Organisation
NMDS National Minimum Data Set
NSW New South Wales
QoL Quality of Life
SAAP Supported Accommodation Assistance Program
SDS Severity of Dependence Scale
SF-36 Short Form Health Survey 36
WHO World Health Organisation
WHO QoL-8 World Health Organisation Quality of Life- 8
WHO QoL-BREF World Health Organisation Quality of Life- Brief

Rationale for the collection of accurate client descriptive and treatment outcomes data.

In recent years there has been an increasing focus on how best to identify and work with people with coexisting drug and alcohol and mental health issues (also referred to as co-occurring disorders, co-morbidity or dual diagnosis). The high prevalence of coexisting disorders within treatment settings is well established, and clients with coexisting mental health and drug and alcohol issues are more likely to have highly complex and complicated illness courses.

At present there is no consistency in the screening, assessment and outcomes data collected for drug and alcohol misuse and/or mental health issues between national and state governments, between government and non-government sectors, between drug and alcohol and mental health sectors, and among individual service providers.

It is challenging for many service providers to identify the screening, assessment and outcome measurement tools that are most suitable for them and for those persons utilising their service. Consultation with NGOs in the sector has made it clear that some collect only required data items (such as MDS), some collect data in addition to that required for compliance purposes but do not use it, while others use some of the data for their own planning purposes. For the non-government drug and alcohol sector as a whole, apart from the MDS or NMDS, there is no standard data collected.

An outcome in this context is a change in an individual that is attributable to an intervention or series of interventions. Data on outcomes is generally obtained by collecting standard measures over a period of time, commonly at treatment entry, some midpoint, at exit and at a follow up point.

Outcome monitoring is concerned with establishing whether the treatment experience of the person is associated with change and establishes that improvement has occurred following treatment. Although outcome monitoring does not prove that the outcomes were caused by the treatment, it can demonstrate effectiveness of treatment as it is experienced by the client.

Outcome data can inform treatment interventions with individuals, and can also provide data for organisations and the sector as a whole, thereby improving reporting and enabling advocacy for appropriate resources.