The Economic Value of Monitoring Patient Treatment Response

| March 11, 2015

outcomes system software, MyOutcomes, Patient treatment response

How can monitoring patient treatment response lead to effectiveness in therapy?

Mental healthcare costs are soaring day by day and year after year. In any given year, one in five people in Canada experiences a mental health problem or illness, with a cost to the economy well in excess of $50 billion.

Studies have found that improved access to peer support, housing, and community-based services can improve quality of life and help to keep people who are living with mental health problems and illnesses out of hospitals and out of the criminal justice system. They have also found that preventing conduct disorders in one child through early intervention can result in a lifetime savings of $280,000.

But what are the three main problems of therapy providers that are stopping them from adopting feedback informed treatment and achieving therapy effectiveness?

Michael J. Lambert, Ph.D., Brigham Young University, highlighted the problems in his research paper titled “The Economic Value of Monitoring Patient Treatment Response”, as below.

  • Over optimism: therapists believe that 85% of patients they treat will recover.Walfish et al. found that 90% of therapists believed they were above the 75 percentile when compared to other therapists. It is this over optimism that results at times in therapists not noticing or acknowledging the patients who are deteriorating. Hatfield (2010) examined case notes of patients who deteriorated to see if therapists noted worsening and found that only 21% of therapists recognized when their patients got 14 points worse than before. This figure rose to a meager 32% when their patients got 30 points worse than before.
  • Patient treatment response is not a determinant of the treatment length, but it is determined by theory.
    Even though research shows that formally monitoring patient treatment response and providing feedback to patients and therapists makes therapy more cost effective by shortening the course of treatment for the majority of clients, it is still determined by theory
  • Inefficiency in failing to end successful treatment and in allowing treatments that have not worked well to end. Research shows that a substantial number of patients (around 25%) remain in treatment even though they are not responding. Mental health disorders have severe negative effects on the patient, their family, as well as society. It causes considerable amounts of human suffering and has a highly negative economic impact.

So what needs to be done to reduce the burden of this burgeoning cost and achieve more efficiency and effectiveness in therapy?

Lessons learned from North America show that team-based approaches and other evidence-based practices, when implemented with high fidelity, can improve outcomes in routine mental health care settings.

Mental health functioning can be briefly measured and monitored on a weekly basis, with this information instantaneously fed back to practitioners and managers.

MyOutcomes is a web-based application of PCOMS that enables instant feedback from clients. MyOutcomes provides the ORS, or Outcome Rating Scale, that can easily and quickly bring the client’s voice into each therapeutic session. This allows the client to share their perception of their own functioning on a personal level, their interpersonal relationships with friends and family, and their general social interactions. With the regular use of this tool, psychotherapists can be on top of recovery. With the power of this information, therapists can make sure that therapy can end just in time and bring in more efficiency.

To learn more about MyOutcomes, please call us toll-free at 1-877-763-4775.

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