ACTIVITY

Improving the Use of Measurement Based Care in Psychiatry

In many mental health practices, measurement based care is an important part of the treatment process. In this approach, patient rating scales and other assessment data are routinely collected to assess client progress in the therapy setting, to provide objective feedback about symptom improvement or worsening, and to inform treatment changes when necessary.

The primary advantage of measurement based care is that it provides clinical decision makers with more information about their patients than they might otherwise have, thereby supporting more effective treatment plans and interventions. Moreover, this method allows clinicians to make informed decisions about their patients and ensure that their care is focused on the most critical needs of their patients.

A growing body of research shows that MBC can improve treatment outcomes and reduce symptom deterioration in both patients and clinicians alike, improving the overall quality of life of individuals receiving treatment for behavioral health conditions. This is largely due to MBC’s ability to improve the detection of patient deterioration and its effect on patient-provider communication, which can extend treatment engagement and retention.

Clinicians who adopt MBC have also reported that it helps them identify relapse more quickly and respond to it more effectively, reducing the likelihood of treatment discontinuation. MBC can also enhance the quality of their clinical judgment and their understanding of their patients’ symptoms, enabling them to communicate more clearly and provide more personalized, targeted treatment.

It is also known that measurement based care results in better patient outcomes, with more patients achieving remission and having a greater response to treatment, compared to non-MBC patients. In addition, MBC can help prevent burnout among clinicians who are prone to relapse and increase patient satisfaction with their treatments.

Despite the clear benefits of MBC, it remains challenging for many clinicians to implement this practice in their clinical settings. This is because many symptom rating scales are primarily self-report, and therefore require extensive time and energy from clinicians to administer. The process is further limited by a lack of patient-provider feedback that takes place within the context of an in-person therapeutic encounter.

One way to improve the use of measurement based care in psychiatry is to incorporate technology into the treatment process. This is because it can improve the measurement-based care workflow by moving the patient-provider interaction outside the office, generating more data insights between sessions and fostering better engagement between patients and their clinicians in the context of digital medicine.

This can be accomplished by using health information technology (HIT), which enables regular and charted symptom rating scales. Combined with a robust EHR system, HIT can enable regular monitoring of client ratings and trends to improve the overall effectiveness of treatment.

The HIT system can provide a central hub for the collection and reporting of quantitative measurements, and integrate those metrics into dashboards. This helps clinicians track quantitative measures across multiple treatments and identifies any unusual trends or correlations. This makes it easier to adjust treatment plans when necessary, saving time and boosting the chances of success.

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