what is measurement based care is the systematic use of outcome measurement to guide treatment decisions. In psychiatry, this includes using routine outcome assessment in clinical care, timely adjustments of medication and counseling based on outcome assessments, and timely changes in treatments when outcomes are not achieved.
The effectiveness of MBC is supported by randomized controlled trials. In these trials, routine outcome assessment in the medication management and psychotherapy encounters significantly improved outcomes compared to practices that only assessed symptom severity on one or two occasions. In addition, the use of outcome assessment in a systematic and repetitive manner is highly preferred by patients.
Implementation science: methods to integrate evidence-based practices into routine care
The literature reveals that barriers to MBC include patient concerns (e.g., confidentiality), practitioner beliefs that measures are no better than clinical judgment, organization issues, and system issues. Barriers can be addressed through strategies, such as implementing measurement feedback systems, leveraging local champions, creating learning collaboratives, training leadership, improving expert consultation with clinical staff, and generating incentives.
MBC has also been shown to improve patient outcomes by expediting improvements and detecting patients whose health would otherwise deteriorate. These benefits may be especially important for mental health conditions, such as depression.
Behavioral health payers are interested in MBC, as they recognize the positive correlation between behavioral outcomes and physical health. They are motivated to pay more to clinicians who provide MBC, and they may choose to recoup costs by paying for the use of a standalone CPT code that reports brief behavioral or emotional assessments.
In addition, a successful MBC program can be built on a robust digital EHR that can automatically collect and report outcomes data. This can make the process of getting paid for this type of care easier.
Outcome Measures: Symptom Rating Scales
The core of MBC is the delivery of systematically administered symptom rating scales to monitor client symptoms, inform and improve treatment outcomes, and help clinicians determine whether a particular treatment is effective. Symptom rating scales, when used with a full clinical assessment, give a more accurate picture of the patient’s condition and provide more objective data to help providers make better treatment decisions.
Using these tools can help clinicians keep track of progress and make changes in their treatment strategy as needed, which is often the case with mental health conditions like depression. They also offer additional legal protection because they are used in a responsible, data-driven way.
Business data: Time-to-appointment, outcome trends, and other data can help you negotiate better rates from your insurance companies. It’s worth contacting your network representatives to learn how to utilize this information to your advantage.
MBC is a growing practice, and it’s worth starting to incorporate into your mental health practice right now. It’s a good way to get better patient outcomes faster and to receive compensation that’s worth the effort. It can be a bit of a process to get it implemented, but it’s well worth the investment.