June 25, 2022

4 Things You Should Know About Measurement-Based Care

by Psych Times Staff

If you or a loved one are undergoing treatment for behavioral or mental health and you’d like to know how to further improve the outcomes, it may be time to consider measurement-based care. Besides a clinician’s eye, this can help determine the extent of your condition. In the same way that a thermometer measures temperature or a scale shows how many pounds you’ve gained or lost, measurement-based care can reveal how you respond to treatment, the severity of your symptoms, and which areas require more work to help you feel better.

To better understand measurement-based care, here are four basic things to know.

What Is Measurement-Based Care?

Measurement-based care may sound very technical, but it’s simpler than it sounds. It entails collecting short verified patient self-report questionnaires and using these reports for treatment. The questionnaires should have widely recognized scoring thresholds and should be particular in evaluating symptoms and any changes regarding these during the treatment period.

The questionnaires are provided when the treatment begins, and this gives the clinician a solid starting point and basis in their evaluation of the patient. This allows them to more accurately track the patient’s progress for the given period. That way, they can easily spot and celebrate any improvements in symptoms, as well as make necessary adjustments if the symptoms worsen.

What Are The Benefits Of Measurement-Based Care?

There are a number of benefits of measurement-based care, and being aware of these may help nudge you toward making a decision. In particular, here are two major benefits of this type of treatment:

1) It Promises Better Patient Outcomes

Though traditional methods of treatment such as psychotherapy and medication have proven to be effective in improving a patient’s condition, there has been research that suggests that measurement-based care can deliver even better patient outcomes. This is because measurement-based care allows clinicians to have a greater understanding of their patients and provide treatments that are more targeted and specific to their case.

2) It Improves Care Experience

Measurement-based care comes with the positive factor of giving patients a sense of ownership over the decisions made regarding their treatment. Because the initial information about the symptoms comes from the patients themselves and because more thought is put into how to treat their specific case, they tend to feel more engaged and involved in the process. Consequently, this is a big help to symptom improvement, as it offers patients a clearer understanding of their condition.

3) How Does Measurement-Based Care Work?

Generally, measurement-based care uses result measures and symptom rating scales to measure baseline conditions to determine the treatment’s effect on a particular patient. Symptom rating scales can give valuable information when combined with a full clinical assessment. After evaluating the scores, the clinician will study them carefully and offer objective treatment.

Measurement-based care makes use of a single rating scale (or more) meant to screen patients before their first appointment. The scores enable the clinician to understand the areas that need more testing and assessment, while providing reliable results on the severity of the patient’s symptoms.

After the first evaluation, measurement-based care relies on a symptom rating scale to track patients’ changes to determine whether the treatment is working or whether it requires adjustments. The changes can be compiled in a graphic and shared with the patient so that they’re aware of their progress. This ensures that they’re more involved in their treatment, essentially making them a team with the clinician.

In simple terms, measurement-based care provides a reliable means of accurately tracking the patient’s progress and identifying areas of improvement and those that need more intervention.

4) Why Should Clinicians Use Measurement-Based Care?

Measurement-based care is becoming an essential part of studying how patients progress in treatment. For clinicians, there are two major reasons to consider using measurement-based care. First, it allows them to get reliable patient outcome information more quickly. Second, it’s becoming the standard of care in the mental health industry.

Regarding the first benefit, as mentioned earlier, measurement-based care provides better and more reliable patient outcomes. Research done in 2016, which analyzed results from 300 therapists and more than 6,000 patients, found that patients who underwent measurement-based care made significant improvements compared to those assigned to traditional methods of care.

There are many reasons for this. One is that the scales used enable clinicians to provide better and more specific care for their patients, as it allows them to have the necessary information before deciding on factors in the patients’ treatment. These factors include medication, referrals, and limitations or interventions, among other things.

Additionally, measurement-based care allows the patient to work in tandem with their clinician, which results in them actively contributing to their treatment plan. As the patient learns more about their condition, they become aware of the symptoms to watch out for, and they can ask for help or early intervention when they feel it is necessary.

As mentioned earlier, measurement-based care also enables both patient and clinician to observe and act on changes quickly. Thus, they can confidently make decisions regarding whether to continue a specific treatment or make adjustments as needed.

All these things contribute to better patient outcomes, and consequently, this has resulted in measurement-based care gaining traction in the mental health industry. It’s slowly becoming the standard of care, as carriers aim to achieve better results and patient outcomes. More healthcare providers and facilities are opting to use this method in treating their patients.

Conclusion

Measurement-based care isn’t a new phenomenon. It has been around for quite some time. In fact, there are years of research to back up how effective it is for patients’ improvement. That being said, if you or a loved one are looking for options to improve treatment more quickly and efficiently, measurement-based care would be a great choice. Not only would you be able to get the best care for your particular case, but you would also play an active role in the decision-making regarding factors in your treatment.

The article above presents the basics of measurement-based care. If there’s more you’d like to know about it, don’t hesitate to do more research or inquire with your healthcare provider about what it entails.


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