The concept of what is measurement based care (MBC) is relatively new in the behavioral health field, yet it is not well understood by many providers. Despite its proven value, MBC is still less used by practitioners than other approaches to treatment, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal neurobiology.
Symptom Rating Scales Are Key for MBC
When it comes to measuring behavioral health symptoms, rating scales are an important part of the practice. They help clinicians understand how patients are responding to treatment and can be used in conjunction with a full clinical assessment. The therapist can then focus on areas of concern and improve their skills in providing care.
Symptom rating scales are a vital component of behavioral healthcare research trials, but they are much less common in routine care. This is because they are time-consuming to administer and may be difficult to collect, chart, and report in a timely manner.
How to Implement Symptom Rating Scales in Your Clinic
A good first step to implementing symptom rating scales is to make sure they are easy for clients to complete and chart on their own. It is also crucial that the feedback be sent to the therapist in real-time, and that it is accompanied by a personalized, up-to-date client report.
Tracking Quantitative Measures Through a Robust System
The most effective way to implement symptom rating scales in your practice is to use a flexible electronic health record (EHR) that supports this model. This way, you can easily chart these measurements and share them with other collaborating providers as needed. You can even track quantitative measures across multiple programs and services, allowing you to see how each program is impacting your clients.
EHRs specifically designed for behavioral healthcare also enable the automated collection, tabulation, and reporting of outcome data so that you can get paid for the quality care you are providing. This helps your organization stay on the cutting edge of this emerging trend and allows you to compete for value-based reimbursements from payors.
Using Measurement-Based Care to Target Goals
In behavioral healthcare, it is important that all treatment plans be tailored to the specific needs of the patient. In order to do this, the patient’s goals are assessed through psychometrically validated tools that are regularly used by clinicians. These tools are then used to monitor the progress of patients against their own goals and to actively change the treatment plan when it is not working.
As evidence-based practices evolve and more payers become aware of the link between mental health and physical health, a growing number of them are now making use of measurement-based care. This is especially true as insurance companies recognize the benefits of behavioral health treatments and are willing to pay more to clinicians who are willing to provide these services.
To maximize the effectiveness of MBC programs, it is critical that symptom rating scales be psychometrically validated. This will ensure that they are reliable and sensitive to change. This will ultimately contribute to better outcomes for the patient and improve clinical decision making.