Adopting a measurement-based care (MBC) approach improves the quality of service by using self-reported outcome assessments to track a patient’s progress. Simply put, the MBC model gives the patient more agency over their own treatment and enables the clinician to take a broader view of the patient’s progress than one-hour therapy sessions allow.
MBC’s success relies on consistently applying its principles – regular assessments and feedback – while viewing treatment plans as works in progress, rather than established maps to recovery. Automatic data-tracking software, like that found in CarePaths EHR, is pivotal in maintaining this needed consistency.
Measurement-Based Care Improves Patient Satisfaction and Engagement
MBC encourages patients’ participation in their own care by seeking their input and integrating it into the treatment plan. Today, it’s commonly accepted that strong patient engagement is one of the clearest indicators of high-quality care. Collaboration between patient and practitioner improves the quality of care in several ways (according to patients themselves):
- MBC is convenient for patients. Assessments should be brief and straightforward. They are typically completed right before or during a session. When administered through an integrated EHR platform, they can be done either from home, in the case of teletherapy, or in person.
- Attrition occurs when patients stop therapy before reaching a clinically significant outcome, and it is a major issue in mental health practices. Besides being an obvious impediment to clients’ recovery, attrition disrupts the flow of your practice and affects your bottom line. Unfortunately, one meta-review of studies found that clinicians report up to a 40% attrition rate with psychotherapy. When clinicians implement MBC, though, patients are significantly less likely to stop therapy before goals have been reached.
- Along this same vein, behavioral health EHR systems track different variables, such as appointment attendance and progress, or lack thereof. That data arms your practice with tools to identify patients at risk for attrition. Patients in MBC environments also attend meetings and groups more consistently and keep their appointments more often.
- Patients report a feeling of greater alliance with their therapists in clinics that use MBC. Frequently monitoring outcomes together fosters a sense of working in tandem while giving clients a chance to report their own feelings about their treatment. This therapeutic relationship makes it clear their perceptions are valued. Increased transparency is essential to the collaborative care approach.
- Patients report higher overall satisfaction with their counseling experiences when the therapist uses outcome measures consistent with MBC. These patients report feeling more involved in their own care and more respected by the clinical staff.
Measurement-Based Care Improves Clinical Outcomes
MBC creates a system of collaborative care that is client centered and yields quantifiable improvements to clinical outcomes. Despite robust evidence that MBC improves therapeutic outcomes, it is underutilized, with only an estimated 20% of practitioners using it. Many practitioners hesitate to try a whole-practice implementation based simply on the number of patients they see. But an EHR like CarePaths streamlines the adoption of MBC because patient assessments are integrated into the system alongside appointment reminders and progress notes. Since MBC improves clinical outcomes regardless of a patient’s diagnosis or the clinician’s theoretical framework, it’s suitable for any therapy practice. There are also these benefits:
- When done regularly over time, MBC provides a longitudinal picture of any given patient’s progress and their perceptions of that progress. This dramatically improves the detection of patients who are deteriorating or simply not improving as expected. Therapists are human, too, and often underestimate the percentage of their patients whose condition has worsened (sometimes by as much as 45%). Outcome measurements eliminate these possible blind spots. Furthermore, patients who are not showing much progress tend to benefit the most from the implementation of MBC.
- Reviewing the assessment results with patients clears the way for frank discussions about expectations and any concerns they may have. This enables them to develop additional insights into their care and gives the clinicians important information about the patient’s goals and understanding of their diagnosis. Therapists can then combine this with their clinical judgment to adjust treatment plans and goals.
- Reviews of relevant research have found that patients show improvement with MBC, even when practitioners use the information in different ways. The mere act of repeated self-assessment is thought to promote insight and self-reflection. Patients grow used to considering their symptoms and where they are on the path to the recovery that they desire.
- MBC generates data that can justify continued care to insurers and increase reimbursement levels. Concerns about paying for additional therapy visits hamper a patient’s ability to engage in their care and often lead to skipped appointments. With a constantly updating EHR system, your practice can provide valuable information to the insurance company to ensure your patients have access to the care they need.
- MBC correlates with reduced severity of symptoms and better quality of life when compared to therapy alone. Both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association recommend MBC as an evidence-based practice. MBC provides information to therapists and clinicians that guide their treatment approach to each patient on an individual basis.
While most mental health professionals see the high quality of services facilitated by MBC, they cite difficulty in getting started as a major impediment. CarePaths is the only complete EHR with MBC fully integrated, automatically prompting patients to complete assessments and capturing their feedback. Finding the right platform will streamline the implementation of this proven approach to therapy.
Here at CarePaths, we empower therapists to work more effectively and improve patient outcomes with the data they need via innovative EHR technology. To learn more about how we can help, start your free trial today!