March 2, 2024

Getting Started With Measurement Based Care in Mental Health

A growing body of research affirms that behavioral health treatments are far more effective when clinicians use objective measures to assess patient progress. This practice, known within behavioral measurement based care mental health involves repeated screening of patient symptoms over time using validated symptom rating scales. Implemented correctly, it yields better outcomes for patients and providers alike.

Improved Outcomes

One of the biggest benefits of measurement based care is that it can help you generate faster, measurable patient outcomes. This can mean relief from symptoms in a faster timeframe, enhanced patient involvement in the treatment process, and other positive gains.

You can also use this data to tease out which treatments work well and which don’t for individual patients, allowing you to target your treatment plans to those who benefit most from them. This can lead to fewer client dropouts, and it also helps you tease out where your team may need to focus to improve clinical outcomes.

More Outcomes and Higher Reimbursement

As mental health moves toward value-based care, payors are increasingly reimbursing for outcome measurement services. This means that more practices are starting to receive payments for their services that include outcome measures, which can add anywhere from 5 to 10% to the practice’s revenue.

But implementing this practice can be difficult, and it’s important to have the right tools in place to support it. Specifically, practices need quality software that supports automation right within the EHR. Valant’s Behavioral Health EHR was engineered from the ground up to support measurement based care automation and to make it easier for practices to transition to this model.

Getting Started with Measurement Based Care

The first step in any measurement based care practice is to choose which outcome measures to use. Some of the most common are rating scales, which allow a clinician to evaluate a patient’s symptoms based on a series of questions or statements. A patient can fill out these scales at each assessment, and a clinician can analyze the information from them to gauge how their patients are responding to treatment.

For example, the PHQ-9 is a nine-item rating tool that is widely used to screen and diagnose depression. Other rating scales are available for other mental and behavioral health disorders, including anxiety, PTSD, and substance abuse.

Using Rating Scales and Other Outcome Measures

Another great way to implement measurement based care is to utilize other patient monitoring tools such as electronic medical records (EMRs) or digital health records (DHRs). These can give you an idea of how well your patients are doing in terms of their overall emotional and social well-being.

It is also possible to use these tools to identify gaps in care, to suggest new programs that your target population could benefit from, and to help secure more funding for your practice. Having these tools in place can help your organization become more efficient and effective at treating patients, and it can increase your revenue by showing payors that you are making a tangible difference in the lives of your patients.

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