Mental health is on the rise and there’s a growing need for clinicians to implement evidence-based practices. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that depression will be the largest global burden of disease by 2030. In response to these rising rates, mental health leaders have been recommending the implementation of measurement based care mental health(MBC) for years. However, only 18% of Psychiatrists and 11% of Therapists have implemented MBC in their practices.
MBC Improves Patient Outcomes
MBC is a systematic administration of validated symptom rating scales and other assessment tools to help initially assess behavioral health patients, inform beginning and ongoing treatment decisions, improve treatment outcomes, and measure results. MBC is a critical component of delivering effective treatment and is proven to result in better patient outcomes, including more patients reaching remission and fewer required sessions for therapy.
In the current model of measurement based care, most therapists conduct assessments during clinical encounters with patients in an effort to maximize efficiency and reduce time spent on administrative tasks. This is a labor-intensive process that limits patient and clinician engagement by relying solely on subjective impressions in a context that may not reflect the full spectrum of a patient’s daily functioning.
Many MBC programs rely on self-reported data obtained through brief symptom-focused questionnaires that are primarily administered before and during clinical encounters, as well as during or shortly after the actual therapy session. These questionnaires have been designed to be brief enough to adapt to the workflow of clinical settings, but they often limit their effectiveness because they do not capture broader aspects of patient functioning and effects of therapeutic interventions between sessions .
MBC Increases Clinical Decision Making
MBC allows a therapist to make more informed treatment decisions by assessing symptom severity, response to treatment, and illness severity in real time. Using these measures helps the clinician to determine when additional treatment is needed and to identify if a patient is at risk of suicide or relapse. In addition, MBC increases the clinician’s confidence in a client’s progress by giving them empirical evidence of their performance.
Moreover, MBC is a vital tool to help patients communicate effectively with their providers, especially when they are from disadvantaged groups. For example, MBC can enhance communication between a provider and a patient from a low-income or minority population by ensuring that the therapist knows which symptoms their client is experiencing, and how the symptoms affect their life.
The use of standardized symptom rating scales can also empower clients by helping them to validate their symptoms and mitigate the impact of self-blame, a common mental health concern for people with psychiatric disorders. This can lead to an improved therapeutic relationship between a therapist and a patient, as well as an enhanced treatment experience for all involved.
There are several ways to introduce MBC into a mental health practice, including by automating the administration of symptom rating scales and using a software platform that tracks the outcomes for all patients. For instance, the Osmind Care Platform makes it easy to administer symptom ratings and track patient outcomes for every visit, eliminating the need for extra work for clinicians. The software also makes it simple for clinicians to document results and share with other clinicians and payers. It can even be used to generate extra income by generating CPT codes that insurance carriers are willing to pay more for.