Measurement based care behavioral health is the systematic evaluation of patient symptoms before or during an encounter to inform behavioral health treatment. This approach enhances usual care by expediting improvements and rapidly detecting patients whose health would otherwise deteriorate. However, it remains underused, with only about 18% of psychiatrists and 11% of psychologists using symptom rating scales in routine practice.
Research has shown that MBC improves outcomes and increases fidelity of care [6, 7]. Studies also show that therapists are more likely to use standardized measures, and symptom rating scores have greater clinical utility in the practice of behavioral health when they are a part of a client’s ongoing evaluation process during treatment sessions.
In addition, clients who are able to complete rating scales throughout their treatment report that they are more involved in their treatment and feel respected by their therapist. Moreover, they are more motivated to take action on their underlying symptoms and make changes to their care plan when they see improvements.
Aims of measurement based care:
The main goals of MBC are to improve the quality of clinical decisions, enhance communication between clients and clinicians, and demonstrate the value of care. It is an evidence-based approach that can enhance behavioral health treatment in a variety of settings and populations.
MBC is an effective treatment method and a cornerstone of clinical practices for treating mental disorders. It aims to accelerate recovery by tracking the progress of a patient’s psychiatric and emotional health. Typical measures used in MBC include patient-reported outcome measures, measures of symptoms and functioning, and the therapeutic alliance.
It can be difficult to implement MBC, but the benefits are well worth the effort. It provides a consistent evaluation that can be incorporated into all aspects of behavioral health treatment, improves clinical decision making and quality of care, enriches communication between therapists and clients, and demonstrates the value of care.
Symptoms and severity fluctuate over time, so it is important to re-measure frequently. Several studies have found that asynchronous feedback, such as sending questionnaires through the mail every three months, is not as effective as having clients complete ratings during or before sessions.
R stands for Respond to results by celebrating even the smallest improvement and adjusting treatment when appropriate to address symptom stagnation or deterioration. Often, these steps involve updating the patient’s treatment plan or changing medications to treat a new set of symptoms.
It is easy to incorporate measurement based care into your practice thanks to the right EHR technology. Valant’s Behavioral Health EHR offers over 65 rating scales as standard, which can be automatically pushed to a patient and then flow into clinical notes, saving clinicians valuable time and supporting higher-level coding when appropriate.