Measurement based care tools are evidence-based assessments that allow clinicians to track patients’ progress and monitor their symptoms in real time. These tools can be used to treat a wide range of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and addiction.
Many of these tools are standardized and validated, meaning they can be trusted to accurately assess the specific aspect of health or function that they were designed to measure. For example, the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) is a common measurement based care tool for assessing depression.
In addition to assessing mood, these tools can also be used to track cognitive functions such as memory and language. They can help neuropsychologists understand how a patient is responding to treatment.
The most commonly used measurement based care tools in psychiatry include symptom rating scales and medication use monitoring. They can be administered at the start of therapy or monitored at intervals during treatment.
When used as intended, these tools can help to improve outcomes in psychotherapy and medication management. For instance, researchers have found that frequent and timely feedback of symptom data to providers during treatment increases the likelihood of reaching remission in anxiety or depression, reduces the time required for a patient to respond to treatment, and lowers relapse rates.
These tools can be used in a number of ways, but the most important is that they can help to enhance patient engagement and promote a positive therapeutic relationship between provider and patient. This is important because it can lead to more active participation by the patient, greater understanding of their symptoms, attention to relapse signs, and improved quality of life.
For example, a symptom rating scale may be completed by a patient during a telemental health session or at home using an app. Once this data is entered, the therapist can see the full picture of the patient’s mental health and can help to determine if they need to make any adjustments in their treatment plan.
This type of monitoring is especially useful for patients who are struggling with a substance abuse problem, as it can provide them with the tools they need to monitor their own symptoms and respond to treatment accordingly. It can also help to prevent relapses and encourage the patient to be an active member of their treatment team.
One of the most effective ways to integrate measurement based care into a practice is to use software like Owl, which makes the process easy for both clinicians and patients. With Owl, clinicians can automate a variety of tasks and send reminders to patients when it’s time for them to complete these measures.
With the growing emphasis on data-driven care in the behavioral health industry, many carriers are now requiring more and more measurement based care, which can help to bring down costs and improve patient outcomes. However, most behavioral health professionals are still unfamiliar with this method and are hesitant to implement it.
It’s essential to ensure that all providers in a practice are familiar with this method and have the tools to properly implement it. This can be done by having a robust EHR system that automates the administration of these tools and making sure that all staff are well trained on how to interpret the data. It’s also important to choose a symptom rating scale that has been psychometrically validated, so that the information obtained is accurate and can be shared with payors.