Increasing the Value of Your Practice with Measurement-Based Care
In thinking about how to market your therapy practice, it is becoming increasingly important to advertise your use of evidence-based practices. One practice that has been gaining popularity in recent years is Measurement-Based Care (MBC), also known as Routine Outcome Measurement (ROM) or Feedback-Informed Treatment (FIT). This simple but powerful approach consists of collecting regular self-assessments of your client’s symptoms and well-being and talking with them about the progress of their results over time.
The Data-Driven Metrics of Therapy
Many people still have an impression of psychotherapy as somehow less serious than other branches of healthcare, when in fact it has been proven in clinical trials to be as effective or more effective than psychotropic medicines for the treatment of conditions such as depression and anxiety. One reason for this impression is that outside of these trials, there is often a lack of reliable metrics for a given client’s progress (or lack thereof) in therapy. In today’s data-driven world, people are hesitant to invest the necessary time and energy in the therapeutic process without having some way to track their results.
But the ability to track your clients’ progress is only the beginning as far as the benefits of MBC are concerned. Numerous studies have shown that the use of MBC actually improves therapeutic outcomes, irrespective of the type of therapy practiced. Some of the reasons for this are obvious. For example, if the assessments are showing that a client's symptoms aren’t improving or are even deteriorating, you can have a conversation with them about what isn’t working and modify your approach.
Another reason MBC leads to better outcomes is that it increases client engagement and a sense of collaboration with the therapist. Seeing their own progress over time empowers clients to take an active role in the process. When they can clearly see that the hard work they are putting in is bearing fruit, it encourages them to keep going. Conversely, if they aren’t making progress, they can bring this up during a session, whereas previously they may have had a vague sense that things weren’t working but would not have felt comfortable saying anything without some hard data to point to. This sense of increased agency has been shown to reduce client dropout rates by up to 20%.
Despite these proven benefits, widespread adoption of MBC has been slow, because many clinicians still see it as a burden. They don’t want to take valuable time out of sessions to have clients complete assessments, and collecting and organizing the data is just one more administrative task to fit into an already exhausting schedule. One company offering digital solutions to these hurdles is CarePaths. They have teamed up with world-renowned psychotherapy researcher Bruce Wampold, Ph.D. to design a suite of MBC tools for their already robust EHR and practice management platform. These include a hand-selected battery of the most universally relevant assessments, automatically sent to clients at regular intervals, which they then complete at their own convenience via a free mobile app. The results are displayed in graphs that make it easy to see when clients’ symptoms are outside the clinically normal range.
MBC Tools for Therapists
While these tools are currently only available to users of the CarePaths EHR, they will soon be releasing a free version of the MBC system including the standard battery of assessments. They are also offering any therapist who uses their tools a free listing in the CarePaths Therapist Directory, a searchable database of therapists specifically promoting those clinicians practicing Measurement-Based Care. Together with Professor Wampold, they have also started Making Therapy Better, a website, blog, and podcast dedicated to helping everyday clinicians improve outcomes with the power of evidence-based practices such as MBC.
While the coming years will undoubtedly see more and more therapists taking advantage of the benefits of MBC, for the time being, it remains an important way not only to deliver better-quality care to your clients but to set your practice apart from the competition. As of a 2018 study, less than 20% of mental health providers were using it. Employing this powerful, clinically proven practice will allow you to attract clients who want an unambiguous measure of their progress, and help keep those clients engaged long enough for them to achieve the positive change they’re looking for.
Sign up for a demo today to see CarePaths’ MBC tools in action.