measurement based care behavioral health is a form of client-centered progress monitoring that involves the systematic administration and use of validated symptom rating scales to drive clinical decision making at the level of the individual patient. The purpose of measurement-based care is to enhance behavioral health treatment outcomes, therapeutic efficiency, and patient adherence. The process involves administering a validated questionnaire to patients before treatment begins, assessing their scores over time, and providing feedback of the data to clients. This information helps to maintain focus on current treatment targets and to avoid relapse of symptoms, which can negatively impact the effectiveness of treatment.
The benefits of measurement based care include enhanced patient outcomes, improved clinician satisfaction, and reduced symptom deterioration. The practice also supports a client-centered approach, facilitates a deeper understanding of psychiatric illness and provides insight into the client’s progress towards treatment goals.
MBC has the potential to revolutionize psychiatric practice and mental health treatment. It enables psychiatrists to evaluate patient progress and to make informed decisions about the next step of treatment, medication, referrals, and other interventions. It also helps to improve clinical judgment and patient-provider communications by enhancing a clinician’s ability to detect symptom deterioration and the need for change.
A number of studies have shown that measuring a patient’s symptom severity, response to treatment, and illness severity in real time can be an effective tool for clinicians to improve treatment outcomes. For example, when patients who received MBC were compared to those who did not, they had higher responses to treatment and were more likely to reach remission. Moreover, MBC can reduce symptom deterioration and increase patient retention.
It also helps to reduce the time spent on paperwork, thereby allowing clinicians to spend more time with their patients. Electronic health records specifically designed for behavioral healthcare allow providers to easily collect, chart, and share symptom ratings, which streamlines the collection, analysis, and presentation of data.
The data collected through a patient’s self-report of symptoms is used to inform clinical practice and to inform broader population or practice-based trends. This enables practices to more closely align with payors who are shifting from fee-for-service to value-based models and require empirical data to show the value of mental health treatment.
Using rating scales to track client symptoms can help clinicians stay objective and focus on the patient’s needs, as well as their own. This can be especially helpful when treating clients who are experiencing a mental health crisis or when a client is struggling with substance abuse.
In addition, the use of a rating scale gives an overall picture of a client’s mental health and can serve as a reminder of what is important to them and their goals for treatment. This can promote patient engagement and participation in their own treatment and help to break down the stigma surrounding mental illness.
While it is important to remember that measurement-based care is an evolving process, it can benefit many clients and their clinicians. It can provide a more holistic approach to treatment, improve client outcomes, and reduce the time spent on paperwork, which can help to alleviate stress. The practice is simple to implement and requires only two components: routinely collecting brief, validated patient self-report questionnaires and incorporating the results into treatment.