Mental Health Measurement Based Care

what is measurement based care is the use of outcome measurements in clinical care to guide treatment decisions and improve patient outcomes. It is similar to the use of blood pressure and glucose measurements in treating hypertension or diabetes, for example. It consists of using routine outcome assessment, timely adjustments of medication and counseling based on these assessments, and timely changes in treatment when outcomes are not achieved.

What are the benefits of measurement based care?

Behavioral health professionals can see a number of benefits for their patients, clinics, and themselves when they adopt measurement based care. First, they can achieve better patient outcomes faster. This can lead to higher reimbursement from insurance carriers. Additionally, they can make their practices more profitable by getting paid more for offering value-based care.

What is the best way to implement measurement based care?

When it comes to mental health, measurement based care is a process that involves using validated symptom rating scales to systematically assess patients, inform beginning and ongoing treatment decisions, enhance treatment outcomes, and measure results. These tools are often used in conjunction with traditional clinical assessment, but they can also be used on their own.

The goal of measurement based care is to empower patients and clinicians by providing them with meaningful information that can be used to track progress, make changes in treatment, and improve their outcomes. This helps patients gain control of their treatment and their lives, which is critical to overcoming a wide range of symptoms.

What rating scales are appropriate for measuring a patient’s symptoms?

Psychiatrists and other mental health practitioners can benefit from the use of brief, structured, psychometrically validated symptom rating scales that are easily administered. These scales are able to provide reliable and sensitive feedback of a patient’s symptoms, even when they fluctuate over time. In fact, many randomized controlled trials with frequent and timely feedback of a patient’s symptoms during medication management and psychotherapy encounters have demonstrated that this approach can be highly effective in improving outcomes.

Asynchronous Feedback– One study found that asynchronous feedback of symptom ratings during the clinical encounter is ineffective. For example, sending patients a mail-out requesting them to fill out a symptom rating scale every three months does not increase their scores.

It is important that therapists administer a symptom rating scale during the treatment session, or at the very least, right before the end of the session. In addition, it is important to ensure that the symptom scales are used to guide therapeutic sessions rather than to dictate them.

Client-Centered Approaches and Routine Monitoring of Symptoms:

The most effective method for measuring a patient’s symptoms is by involving the patient in the assessment and feedback processes. This can include facilitating the use of a passive metric (activity, sleep, etc.) to supplement office-based observations. This can help create a deeper therapeutic relationship and give the patient more ownership of their data.

However, the implementation of a measurement based care program can be difficult, especially without the right technology. Thankfully, new digital feedback systems are making it easier for therapists to integrate patient symptom ratings into their treatment sessions, and to track the results of this data. This enables the therapist to provide more personalized care, and the client can also get their own data dashboards and reports, which can be used to support value-based reimbursements.

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