Name it, don't numb it - The Importance of Measurement Based Care

Reading time:
3 min

As the CMHA has said, "Name It, Don't Numb it". We're here for it. Mental health care research advocates for the importance of 'naming it'. What does that mean? It means that we need to provide people who are seeking care with more insight into their own mental health and a better understanding of their symptom change over time so that they can better communicate about their own struggles, triumphs and needs.

As people gain insight into their own mental health, they can better understand their journey and further engage in their care. They are better able to discuss their mental health with family and friends and they can be more aligned, informed and engaged in discussions with their care provider(s). Research shows that Measurement Based Care (MBC) has a positive effect on communication between a client and their mental health provider(s) (Carlier et al. 2012). Another study of 609 people in care found that when a client was measured in treatment, twice as many improved, and at-risk client’s were less likely to report worsening symptoms (Lambert et al. 2001).

Insight into their own treatment data helps to increase engagement and identify and discuss information relevant to their care, which they otherwise may not have shared. It's part of why the movement towards MBC in mental health service delivery is vital, and it's why we'll be here, continuing to build the technology needed for consistent data collection that is clinically useful and improves service quality.

It's challenging to communicate about things we don't understand and we can only innovate when we know what works, and what doesn't.

Measurement-Based Care (MBC) plays an integral role in helping individuals to better understand and communicate their mental health struggles, and research has shown that MBC leads to stronger treatment outcomes. Here are 5 reasons why Measurement Based Care matters.

1. MBC Helps Individuals Better Understand Their Mental Health. People can become more attuned to their symptoms, and aware of fluctuations over time. This means that people in care are able to be more informed, engaged, better prepared to communicate about their mental health and meaningfully participate in shared decision making surrounding their care.

2. MBC Increases Client Engagement in Treatment. Displaying a person's progress results helps to create transparency and a sense of control over one’s own treatment process. This has been shown to reinforce people’s motivation and engagement in the therapy process. As well, numerous Randomized Control Trials have shown that administering an outcome measure reduces client cancellations and no-show rates throughout treatment (Bohanske & Franczak, 2010).

3. MBC Improves Mental Health Treatment Outcomes. Research has shown that consistent use of objective measures in therapy improves overall treatment outcomes. A research study of 609 people (split into two experimental and two control groups) found that when client progress was measured in treatment, twice as many client’s improved, and at-risk client’s were less likely to report worsening symptoms (Lambert et al. 2001).

4. MBC Validates & Empowers People in Care. MBC validates the experiences of people in care and can mitigate the self-blame that people in care commonly experience (Fortney et al., 2016). Using MBC tools can empower individuals by providing them with the language and understanding to better communicate with their providers, making them more involved in their treatment and in clinical decision making (Eisen, Dickey, & Sederer, 2000).

5. MBC Leads to Improved Communication Between People in Care & Healthcare Provider(s). Research has demonstrated that measurement has a positive effect on communication (Carlier et al. 2012), which may improve clarity and alignment on treatment goals between the client and therapist. Since clients are in the best position to assess how they are doing, measurement and display of progress can help clients and therapists identify and discuss information that is relevant to their treatment, which they otherwise may not have shared or discussed.

If you ever want to discuss implementing Measurement Based Care at your organization, we're here and our Implementation Experts would be happy to chat anytime!