OUTCOMES MEASUREMENT IN PSYCHIATRY

Outcomes measurement in psychiatry: a critical review of outcomes measurement in psychiatric research and practice

Background

Outcomes are measured to establish what works, in the context of evaluative research, and to improve the quality of care that is offered. Traditional outcomes focus upon biomedical endpoints, but there is an increased interest in patient based outcomes, which measure the impact of illness or healthcare interventions on the individual and how they live their day-to-day life. There are reasons to expect that the application of patient based outcomes would be especially relevant to the discipline of psychiatry. The aim of this project was to critically review the process of outcomes measurement in the field of psychiatric research and practice.

Findings

An outcomes movement has emerged in healthcare, which can be understood in social, political and economic terms. Outcomes measurement in psychiatric research is dominated by the measurement of psychiatric symptoms, with little reference to patient based measures. Practicing UK psychiatrists rarely measure outcomes. There are substantial practical and attitudinal barriers to the use of outcomes instruments in NHS mental health services. There is little evidence to support the potential for routine outcomes measures to improve the quality of mental healthcare.

Conducted by: Simon Gilbody1, Allan O House1, Trevor A Sheldon2

1. Academic Unit of Psychiatry, University of Leeds; 2. Department of Health Sciences, University of York

Publications

Centre for Reviews and Dissemination. Outcomes measurement in psychiatry: a critical review of outcomes measurement in psychiatric research and practice. CRD Report 24. York: University of York. 2003

Funding

Commissioned by the Medical Research Council, as part of a Fellowship in Health Research