MBC, or measurement based care mental health is an evidence-based practice that empowers mental health providers to focus on patients’ needs by systematically administering validated symptom rating scales and other assessment tools. These measures, such as Personal Health Questionnaire-9 or the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7, are then reviewed over time and are used to track a patient’s progress during treatment sessions. The results of these assessments are then reviewed by clinicians and patients to determine whether or not a patient is maintaining or deteriorating their symptoms, and if they need additional assistance.
MBC can improve patient outcomes and reduce symptom deterioration, which is a common problem in psychiatry. However, most behavioral health practitioners are unfamiliar with this approach and typically only integrate it into their practices with less than 20% fidelity. The underlying reason for this is that MBC can be difficult to implement and sustain, with a variety of barriers to implementation at multiple levels: the patient, the practitioner, the organization, and the system [8-9].
Barriers To Measuring Patient Improvement In Psychiatry
One of the biggest barriers to MBC is that it is hard to create and maintain a data-driven, symptom-focused practice. In addition, many clinicians are not sure how to integrate rating scales into their daily workflows. The use of health information technology can help overcome these barriers and make implementing MBC easier than ever before.
Health Information Technology Streamlines Measurement-Based Care
Electronic Health Records (EHRs) specifically designed for behavioral healthcare make it easier to track a patient’s symptom rating scales in their chart. Once a patient completes an outcome measure, the results automatically flow into clinical notes and are easily viewed for collaborating providers to analyze and understand what is happening at the client level.
Over 65 rating scales come standard in Valant’s Behavioral Health EHR, making it easier than ever to track a patient’s symptoms and outcomes. Additionally, rating scales can be pushed to a patient right before a session to streamline the assessment process and ensure that patients are taking the time necessary for the symptom ratings to have an impact on their mental health.
Digital Data Enhances Behavioral Healthcare
A growing number of studies have shown that tracking symptom severity through the use of rating scales can be beneficial to mental health patients, and that integrating quantitative measures into clinical documentation can be a critical step toward delivering effective, individualized care. In fact, research has found that integrating objective symptom monitoring into a behavioral health treatment plan can lead to better outcomes and increased engagement between the patient and their provider.
Despite the benefits of measurement based care, providers often struggle to implement it in their practices due to the high cost and time required to set up and maintain this type of system. This is why many are looking to technology to help them automate this symptom-based approach, reducing the burden on clinicians and improving their clients’ experience with treatment.