An international team of researchers from various Universities (York, Sheffield, Huddersfield, Leiden, Trier) have developed and tested the impact of adopting Outcome Feedback (OF) technology in a psychological care service in the English NHS system. OF technology is based on the same methods that guide existing medical technologies, such as prenatal scans that use ultrasound devices to compare the growth of babies to benchmarks derived from clinical records of other babies.
In this setting, patients with depression and anxiety problems complete symptom questionnaires on a weekly basis, and the OF technology compares their weekly progress to benchmarks from historical records of hundreds of similar cases. In this way, patients’ progress is classified as being “on track” or “not on track” to recovery, and therapists receive automated feedback about this. The OF technology was integrated into the Patient Case Management Information System (PCMIS; www.pcmis.com), which is an electronic record keeping system routinely used by psychological services in England and Australia.
During 2015 a team of psychological therapists in Leeds (England) was trained to use OF technology; they were instructed to regularly review patients’ progress and to discuss cases that were “not on track” with their clinical supervisors. Clinical records were collected for all patients treated by this team (N = 594), six months before (controls = 349) and six months after the OF training (OF cases = 245). Symptom (depression, anxiety) changes and cost of treatment estimates were compared statistically between controls and OF cases.
Results indicated that OF cases attained similar outcomes (symptom improvements) but at a significantly lower cost, by comparison to controls. It was apparent that OF cases tended to improve at a faster rate, and therefore required less lengthy interventions. This large pilot study concluded that OF technology could considerably enhance the efficiency of psychological treatment for common mental health problems. Given these promising findings, the research team is working with PCMIS to further test and disseminate this OF technology across multiple mental health services during 2016-2017.
PCMIS Accounts Manager
Department of Health Sciences
Faculty of Science
University of York
*Jaime Delgadillo, PhD is the lead researcher on this project, Chris Jones is the lead for any PCMIS related enquiries.