MBC Education  |   Jul 4, 2024  |   4 minute read

Why and How: Large Organization and System Level Measurement-Based Care

We brought together a panel of behavioral health system leaders and experts to discuss the elevated need for, and rapid adoption of, Measurement-Based Care (MBC) across behavioral health services in North America. The conversation was moderated by our President and Co-founder, Simon Weisz, and features our guests Melinda Lehman, Executive Director of Behavioral Health Care and Human Services at the Joint Commission; Dr. David Clark, world-renowned applied psychologist and leading global expert on MBC; and Dr. Sandra Berg, CareSource’s Senior Director of Complex Health Solutions, Behavioral Health. We dove into the topic of MBC and each panelist shared their insights and key learnings to support large or complex organizations and health systems who are considering an MBC implementation.

Untitled design 6

We’ve gathered insights into a two part article that uncovers the ‘Why?’ and the ‘How?’ of MBC for large or complex organizations and health systems—featuring key learnings from our expert panelists on MBC, its role in Joint Commission Accreditation, and its foundational relationship to value-based care.

Let’s begin with part 1: Why Measurement-Based Care?

Why Measurement-Based Care?

Our experts made a clear case for MBC, using the knowledge and experience they’ve gathered throughout their careers.

1. MBC is an effective and foundational component of high quality, evidence-based care.

Melinda shared the clear perspective of the Joint Commission, which is that MBC is a necessary component at the foundation of any evidence-based behavioral health practice, and is integral to delivering effective behavioral health services:

2. Clients are empowered when we integrate objective client-reported data into their sessions.

Physical health has long leveraged objective data and measurement to guide treatment decisions and measure progress. Today, providers rely on these metrics, and people in care have come to expect objective data as a basic standard in nearly all physical healthcare interactions. In any care setting, measurement allows treatment to be informed by objective data to ensure that the care a person is receiving is effective and meets their needs as the client or patient, and is also leveraged to inform continuous iteration or changes in treatment plans based on objective outcomes and the client’s experience. We’ve seen the research and implementation data that clearly shows that our approach within behavioral healthcare should be the same, as it empowers clients to better engage in care and leads to drastically improved clinical outcomes.

3. Measurement-Based Care is the key to achieving parity.

MBC is the key to holding behavioral healthcare up to the same standards as physical healthcare, which means leveraging outcome data throughout care to ensure services are effective and continually improve, ensuring all people have access to the high-quality care they need.

4. Measurement-Based Care provides a pathway to value-based contracting.

With the data collected through MBC, it becomes simple for providers to engage in conversations with payors around the effectiveness of their services. They can measure their impact, they can share it and they can make continual improvements based off of client-reported outcomes. This allows any organization or system to leverage their data to inform value-based contracts that are aligned with their service model and sets them up for success. Not only can you collect data to ensure care is effective, but you can easily share it with payors to inform value-based contracts under which your organization can succeed and continually improve.

5. There’s a strong economic case for Measurement-Based Care.

Not only does MBC increase outcomes, but there is a significant ROI that can be achieved through its implementation—which is magnified when applied within large clinics or health systems. Research shows that 40% of people with anxiety & depression also have a long term physical health problem. Importantly, the cost of managing those physical conditions is about 50% higher when patients also have anxiety or depression.

By implementing MBC and meaningfully improving mental health outcomes as a result, we can significantly reduce the costs associated with mental and physical healthcare. Dr. Clark focused on the economic benefit in order to gain approval for NHS Talking Therapies– a program which ultimately leveraged MBC and can now clearly show the healthcare cost savings and economic impact it has driven over the last 15 years.

Dr. Clark shared with us the key stats that he uses within his core argument. Firstly, studies show that 40% of people with anxiety & depression also have a long term physical health problem. Additionally, the cost of managing physical conditions is about 50% higher when patients also have anxiety and depression. This means that by dedicating resources to improving treatment quality and innovating services, we can significantly reduce both mental and physical healthcare costs. The IAPT program has managed to raise average recovery rates from 38% in 2008 to 52% in 2018, reducing the strain on physical health and the overall cost of care in the process.

6. Measurement-Based Care can help us overcome social disparity and drive equitable care for all.

When applied across entire health systems, MBC empowers behavioral health leaders to easily identify which segments of the population including regional areas, ethnicities, ages, genders etc, are not improving. In doing so, they can understand where there are service gaps and strategically invest resources to better support their communities. Not every place or population type will need the same kinds of support—MBC is the key to identifying who’s improving, who’s not, and how to close that gap so everyone can thrive.

At the individual client level, MBC is key to ensuring care is equitable for everyone. Access to results helps each individual better understand their mental health and develop a shared language with their clinician so they can better communicate their needs and experiences with their provider. This process is critical to ensuring care can be centred around their experiences and goals, regardless of their background, level of community/family stigma or past experience with mental health services.

Final Thoughts

While there’s immense value in implementing MBC for providers and organizations of all sizes, there are several highly impactful benefits that can meaningfully improve care when MBC is applied within large or complex organizations and health systems. Thank you to our guests for sharing their insights with us— and please stay tuned for part two where we’ll share their perspectives on how to effectively implement Measurement-Based Care within large or complex organizations and health systems.

If you have any questions about Measurement-Based Care at your organization, you can schedule a call with one of our implementation experts or reach out anytime at info@greenspacehealth.com.