We often talk about the benefits of Measurement-Based Care (MBC) in clinical practice; MBC contributes to increased client engagement, lower dropout rates, and improved outcomes – it’s been proven in the research and continues to be demonstrated in practice by our partners every day. However, the benefits of MBC go much further than that, with impacts that can be identified across the mental health care system as a whole.
During a panel event hosted in partnership with the Rehabilitation & Community Providers Association (RCPA) and the Community Behavioral Health Association of Maryland (MDCBH), we had the pleasure of speaking to three industry leaders. Their diverse roles and experiences brought different perspectives to the conversation with several clear themes emerging; MBC driving improved whole person care, contributing to higher-level organizational decision making, transforming the mental health system more broadly and, most importantly, improving outcomes for each person in care.
1. MBC Breaks Down Care Silos
MBC is the fuel to effective collaborative care, as objective data can be shared cross-functionally to inform all levels of treatment. The ability to easily transfer knowledge to both behavioral health and physical health teams is the key to giving each provider the information they need on their client. This information will help them more effectively inform treatment plans and ensure that clients are receiving the highest level possible of whole person care.
2. MBC is a Constant Feedback Loop
MBC not only tracks individual client changes throughout treatment, but clinics and organizations also have the ability to better understand care effectiveness. The opportunity to see which programs or treatment pathways are working— and which are not— has a major impact on learning opportunities for clinical staff. Additionally, MBC gives organizations the ability to identify resource gaps, invest in quality improvement where most appropriate, and advocate for funding towards programs which are making the most significant impact on treatment outcomes within a Value-Based Care system.
3. Small Organizations Will Benefit
For smaller organizations reporting to Managed Care Organizations—or payers of any sort—the ability to track and share aggregate treatment outcomes is essential to having increased agency in conversations around payment models, especially when a system is working together to collect data across multiple care providers (see Maryland CBHA as an example). When organizations are able to objectively demonstrate the results clinicians and clients are experiencing, they have a better ability to collaborate in the decision making process and influence positive change.
4. MBC Drives Population Health
The data collected through MBC and one-on-one interactions with clients has the ability to inform treatment plans across all levels and types of care (eg. self guided, 1:1 counselling, peer support, etc). This has infinite value when thinking about overall population health, as we can design evidence-based prevention plans, screening tools, care pathways, and crisis resources that apply across all people within large communities, regardless of the state of their mental health.
5. Most Importantly: Clients Will Benefit
MBC is valuable for many different types of services, age groups and demographics. At the individual level, it is vital for clients to have visibility into their results. Whether they’re seeing consistent improvements or irregular fluctuations, clients have the information they need to develop a deep understanding of the symptom changes they’re experiencing, what may cause those changes, and the overall impact of their care. On days where it may feel like no progress has been made, they’re able to look to symptom change data with their clinician and see the overall improvement they’ve made since treatment began.
Though the impacts on individual client experience and quality of care are most important, MBC has implications that go beyond both of these factors. The data collected throughout treatment creates a valuable and consistent feedback loop: data informs programming, program changes improve care, and regular assessments provide client agency and enhance engagement, which altogether improves treatment outcomes— and the cycle only continues.
The reliability and use of this data will also be central in the continued evolution of Value-Based Care payment models, as organizations and systems can objectively show which activities and programs offer clients the best quality of care and lead to improvements in their overall wellness. As MBC becomes more broadly implemented, systems will be able to look at the health of even wider systems, to make more informed population level decisions that proactively prevent struggle, while enhancing our ability intervene early with the knowledge of the appropriate care necessary for each individual.
About the Speakers
Brandon is Chief Strategy Officer at Merakey and directs the development of Merakey’s centralized quality management system in order to ensure the highest caliber of services while transitioning to value-based care.
Fady Sahhar, PhD
Fady is the President and CEO for ProVantaCare, leading the organization at a time of transition and growth. ProVantaCare coordinates managed care services for patients and providers in the fields of behavioral health, drugs and alcohol, long term services and others.
Lisa Serfass, LCPC
Lisa is the Regional Director at Villa Maria Behavioral Health – Catholic Charities Child & Family Services.