Our Story

The NextStep Story

David Ballenberger was deep in a career in human services when he had a change of heart. As a 30-year veteran in residential behavioral health, David had come to a crossroads. The business of residential behavioral health can be grueling. The residential care system is chock full of people who need an extraordinary level of care to get them to a point where they can assist themselves in living their own lives again. And documenting the often slow, incremental progress of clients under their care can be grinding for therapists. The process of recording clinical care was, at best, a nuisance and at worse a hindrance to the true work of the therapist: helping people get better.


Enter Darrin Hanna. Darrin, a computer science professor, PhD in artificial intelligence at Oakland University and a brilliant software developer had concocted a recipe for a new type of software that had the power to change mental health clinical care and the lives of the clients who were served by it. Darrin said “Let me show you something…” and showed David that however he wanted to structure his behavioral health clinical care software, he could. He could structure it around the process his clinicians could use. He wasn’t limited to specific templates for care. He could design his own!

David left residential behavioral health care to change behavioral health care. Together with Darrin, David recognized that the technology was getting in the way of providing better care, by being a bottleneck for therapists, billing specialists and the executive team. No one liked it.

We set out to change behavioral health.

NextStep™, the award-winning treatment planning software that Darrin and David built, has helped  customers streamline and improve their operations. These organizations include private practices, research clinics, residential programs, outpatient agencies and state hospitals

NextStep offers a turn-key approach: software, hardware, training and custom applications.

David, Darrin and their development team’s mission is to help clients provide high quality care and achieve the greatest clinical benefit using limited resources.

NextStep Solutions is currently involved in several research studies that evaluate best practices, medication management guidelines and care cost. We are committed to serving our customers by improving treatment and results within the behavioral health community.