Measurement based care tools are instruments and inventories that are used to assess, monitor, and track health or function. They are typically standardized and validated, meaning that they have been tested and found to be reliable and accurate measures of the specific aspect of health or function that they are designed to assess.
In healthcare, these measurements are expected and required in order to provide effective, high-quality care. In addition, the information they provide can help you make informed decisions about your health and treatment options.
The goal of measurement based care is to improve the outcomes of behavioral health clients by regularly assessing and measuring their symptoms using standardized tools. This helps therapists to determine the effectiveness of their treatment interventions and makes it easier to make adjustments as needed.
Standardized symptom rating scales can be used to measure the severity and duration of symptoms, which can help clinicians make more accurate diagnoses of mental illness. These tools are also sensitive in identifying changes in symptoms over time, which can be helpful to clients as they work through treatment.
Symptom rating scales are also beneficial to patients because they allow them to quantify their symptoms and make sense of the experiences they are having. This can help them understand how they are feeling and mitigate self-blame. In addition, standardized symptom rating scales have been shown to improve outcomes in psychological disturbances, relationship issues, social functioning, and quality of life for patients with mental illness.
Aside from providing a way to assess and track symptoms, standardized symptom rating scales can be used to enhance the therapeutic relationship between clients and their providers. This can improve patient engagement and self-management, and lead to more active patient participation in the treatment process.
The use of symptom rating scales can also be a strategy to address health disparities by improving communication and understanding between clients from low-income, minority, or homeless populations. This can help reduce the stigma that surrounds these groups of people, and enhance treatment effectiveness.
For these reasons, measurement based care is gaining more acceptance in the psychiatric community and becoming the standard of practice. More mental health clinics and providers are incorporating this strategy as insurance carriers are requiring more evidence of results and better patient outcomes in order to pay for services.
There are many ways to get started with measurement based care. A simple way to start is by implementing an electronic health record (EHR) system that automatically administers a variety of outcome measures. Choosing an EHR that automates the process will save you time and allow you to focus on more important things, like treating your clients.
In addition to using a robust EHR system, you should become familiar with the various validated symptom rating scales available for your clients. This will ensure that you have the best tools for evaluating patient progress and addressing problems early on.
In addition, the digital technology that is now available to enhance telemental health with enhanced measurement based care can be used to move patient assessment beyond the office environment and create a more accurate picture of a client’s daily functioning through passive metrics. Enhanced measurement based care can involve a therapeutic alliance that is more engaged in their health data, resulting in improved patient outcomes and a better experience with digital medicine.