NATSAP Practice Research Network

Golden Thread? RDP? Research Surveys?

A Guide to Research at NATSAP

We learned during the presentation on the Golden Thread, Research Designated Program & new NATSAP Surveys at the 2019 national NATSAP conference in Texas, that many are confused about these three components and how they work together. This article is crafted to clarify the three components, explain how they interact with one another and to provide instruction about how to participate or utilize any or all of the three.

Definitions of each component:

The Golden Thread (GT)

The GT is a software system that shares outcomes and client progress information between participating programs that have worked with the same client. It allows providers to see a more complete record of client change and outcomes. It also prevents clients and families from completing surveys redundantly. Providers can participate in the GT without being a Research Designated Program.

The Research Designated Program (RDP)

The RDP is a NATSAP endorsement designed to acknowledge programs that track outcomes using a normed and valid measure that is designed as an outcomes measure. There are three levels:

Bronze= 70% of Admit census sampled

Silver= Bronze + 70% of discharge data

Gold= Silver + 25% of 6 & 12 months post discharge data

Providers can be an RDP without participating in the Golden Thread or the NATSAP research network.

The New NATSAP Surveys

NATSAP sponsors a national outcomes research project. Data are collected from adolescent clients, their parents, adult clients and program staff using custom surveys developed by NATSAP and a team of researchers. These surveys collect demographic information that is useful for research purposes. For the last two years the NATSAP research committee has worked through each survey and made revisions based on research needs and user feedback.

These surveys are only used by programs involved in the NATSAP research network.


How do you become involved or utilize any or all of these?


The Golden Thread

To join the GT, email Mike Petree ([email protected]) to acknowledge your interest. Mike will reply with instructions about how to join and will provide training.


The Research Designated Program (RDP)

For Petree Consulting customers using the Remote Research Director service, email Mike Petree. ([email protected])

For NATSAP programs not using the Remote Research Director service, complete this online application

If you are already an RDP member and have questions about renewal, please contact Mike Petree ([email protected])


The New NATSAP surveys

If you are participating in the NATSAP research network you are using OutcomeTools to collect and submit data. The new surveys will be replaced in your OT account by the end of the day on Feb 8, 2019. PDF versions of the surveys are available in the “Resources” tab in your OutcomeTools account.

IF YOU COLLECT DATA ON PAPER, OR RELY ON PDF’S you’ll need to update your versions manually.

If you are using the Remote Research Director Service your old NATSAP surveys will automatically be replaced with the new surveys in your R2D2 Bot rules.  PDF versions of the new surveys are stored in the “Instrument Profile” icon in R2D2.

Switching to the new surveys means that the NATSAP database will be making a clean break from the old dataset. That means that new consent forms must be signed by clients and parents if their data are to be included in the new NATSAP database.

With this in mind, we are generating new NATSAP consents for clients that are currently in the admit or discharge windows even if they completed an old consent.

We are NOT generating new consents for post discharge instances if an old consent form was already completed but we ARE generating a new consent if no consent was completed before.

We chose to do this because we wanted to extend a broad invitation to be in the new data set. We recognize that this might create unexpected situations for you. Please feel free to dismiss ANY new surveys at your discretion during this transition process.

If an old NATSAP survey is currently pending it will be dismissed and replaced with the new surveys.

Click Here to apply for the RDP.

Click Here to see the 2021 PRN Program Summary