A growing body of research demonstrates that behavioral health treatments are more effective when clinicians use objective measures to assess patient progress. The practice is known within behavioral health as measurement based care. Implemented correctly, measurement based care mental health yields better outcomes for patients and providers alike.
Benefits for Clients
One of the most valuable benefits of measuring outcomes is the opportunity it gives clients to share their experiences and progress with clinicians. This allows them to become more informed, empowered, and engaged in their treatment process. It also leads to a deeper therapeutic alliance between the client and their therapist.
Clinicians benefit as well from being able to base clinical decisions on evidence-based data and a deep understanding of the client’s experience and insight. This empowers them to make the right decisions and save time and money while delivering exceptional patient outcomes.
Benefits for Practices
As the adoption of measurement based care continues to rise, practices benefit by becoming more efficient in their efforts and getting paid more for their services. They can use this data to improve their patient-clinician relationship, increase referrals from payors, and develop new program offerings.
Measurement based care is the process of using standardized rating scales to screen patient symptoms and provide feedback in treatment. It’s a critical practice for all behavioral health professionals to adopt, and it can have profound impact on the overall quality of care offered by clinicians and practices.
It is crucial for a MBC process to be implemented consistently throughout the course of a patient’s treatment. This means consistent and frequent collection of client-reported outcomes (usually every 2 weeks dependent on client needs or recommended frequency for specific assessments).
Having the data to monitor and track patient fluctuations makes it easier to spot and address any gaps in patient care. It allows the patient and clinician to discuss their symptom-change patterns and the adjustments needed in treatment plans. This collaborative, elevated conversation leads to improved clinical outcomes and a greater sense of satisfaction with the experience.
This practice also provides a way for practitioners to stay informed about their own performance, which can help them continue to be successful in their clinical career and grow their business. It can also be used to identify areas for professional development and suggest new treatment approaches that would improve the overall outcomes of patients.
It can also be a useful tool for large practices operating programs targeted to specific diagnoses, allowing the practice to compare patient outcomes between its programs and identify which yield strong results. This can help the practice determine which treatment algorithms are effective and which need to be reworked or scratched altogether.
As the industry reevaluates its approach to mental health, the use of measurement based care will continue to emerge as the best way to deliver a more effective and efficient form of care. This will ultimately benefit patients, clinicians, and the entire behavioral health industry.