PCOMS Measures…Paper or Silicon?

| October 23, 2013
myoutcomes software outcome measures, PCOMS Outcome Measure

The role of new technology in achieving better therapy outcomes

The Partners for Change Outcome Management System (PCOMS), developed by Dr. Scott Miller and Dr. Barry Duncan, has been, since its inception, a tool that has pioneered the movement towards feedback-informed treatment. Most things have simple and humble beginnings, becoming more sophisticated as knowledge increases. This is true of psychotherapy which has made remarkable achievements during the latter part of the 20th Century. Tracing back the roots of our modern age of technology, we will eventually find a handful of tiny seeds sown during the 19th Century industrial age. Although the history of PCOMS doesn’t stretch back decades, PCOMS has rapidly co-evolved with psychotherapy and technology. PCOMS measures feedback using the ORS and the SRS scales.

In its early development, the Outcome Rating Scale (ORS) and the Session Rating Scale (SRS) were administered via paper and pencil. This required the therapist to provide a paper version of each scale to their clients. After the client completed marking the scale, the therapist had to calculate a single score and then manually plot the score graphically. Although this process was much faster than that taken by other somewhat comparable measures that were available back in those days, it still took time…time that could be better used discussing the scores with the client. Furthermore, other than the Reliability Index that helped the therapist identify when a clinically meaningful improvement had been achieved, the therapist was left to evaluate whether the client’s scores represented improvement or deterioration based solely upon the client’s prior scores.

MyOutcomes was born out of a marriage between modern technology and PCOMS. MyOutcomes, the web-based version of PCOMS, not only retains the power of the ORS and the SRS in the clinical setting, but advances that power several notches. In the time it takes for the average person to inhale and exhale twelve times, the therapist can administer either the ORS or SRS and have their client’s score plotted on a graph for immediate integration into the therapeutic session. Even more impressive than this is the fact that the normative scores for predicted performance is now based on over a half million administrations. Unlike the old days, the therapist now has the ability to gain deeper insight into the progress their client is making in achieving their therapeutic goal by measuring that progress against a powerful normative data-set.

Not so long ago, the shopper was greeted by the grocery cashier with a query as to whether they preferred paper or plastic. For those ready to bring their therapeutic practice into the 21st Century, the question is whether they prefer paper or silicon? With paper, the therapist gets a decent, dependable tool. With silicon, the therapist gains the power of the 21st Century. And nowhere is that power more evident than with MyOutcomes. It is for this reason that MyOutcomes is the best partner for those therapists who wish to put their clients’ needs first and foremost!

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Category: PCOMS

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