Measurement based care is the use of patient-reported outcome measurements to guide treatment decisions. It is similar to measuring blood pressure or blood glucose when treating hypertension or diabetes, and it involves using rating scales to objectify the assessment of symptoms, side effects, and functioning.
MBC enables mental health clinicians to better collaborate with their clients and make more informed treatment decisions through routine data collection, timely adjustments in medication and counseling based on outcomes assessments, and timely changes in treatments when they are no longer effective. This results in a greater degree of client engagement and better treatment outcomes, such as symptom improvement and fewer dropouts.
Implementation of measurement based care can be challenging. Several factors can impede implementation, including limited staffing, time to complete assessment tasks, and the difficulty of setting up office workflows to accommodate assessments. However, integrating assessment with the treatment process and allowing remote administration of standardized assessments can reduce these challenges.
A key advantage of integrating assessment into the clinical encounter is the ability to collect data at a time when the patient’s day-to-day life is more active and representative of what they are experiencing outside of therapy sessions, which improves client-clinician communication by enabling them to understand the impact of treatment on their lives. Additionally, a standardized assessment format can be more easily used to assess the efficacy of psychotherapy techniques by comparing a patient’s responses to an objective scale to those of patients in a similar population group.
The most important aspect of MBC is the regular and systematic collection of data, which allows clinicians to be more efficient in their clinical practice by focusing on what matters most at any given moment in their work. Routinely collecting data also provides a clear path to improving practice effectiveness by identifying areas of strength or weaknesses, which can help clinicians develop and fine-tune skills and strategies that will improve their overall patient outcomes.
Responding to the data is another key element of MBC, which includes celebrating even the smallest improvements and adjusting treatments when appropriate to address symptom stagnation or deterioration. A client-centered approach to progress monitoring requires that clients, therapists, and other stakeholders actively engage in the feedback process and take action as needed.
Response to the data is also an opportunity for insurance carriers to see the correlation between mental and physical health, which can increase their willingness to negotiate payment rates. Clinicians who use outcome data and demonstrate their results are rewarded by insurers, resulting in improved patient and provider retention.
Embedded Rating Scales in the EHR
Valant’s behavioral health EHR integrates over 65 rating scales that can be easily embedded into the electronic medical record, reducing paperwork and offering easy-to-use access to clients. Once a patient completes an outcome measure, the data automatically flows into the clinical notes as narrative, saving the clinician valuable time and supporting higher-level coding when appropriate.
Automated Tracking of Outcomes and Insights
Valant’s Behavioral Health EHR provides the tools for measuring outcomes, managing off-track clients, and case management. Outcome data is displayed in the chart as a narrative and can be visualized to support patient-clinician collaboration and data-driven decision making and treatment planning.