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Implementing Measurement-Based Care for Depression: Practical Solutions for Psychiatrists and Primary Care Physicians

Authors Hong RH, Murphy JK, Michalak EE, Chakrabarty T, Wang Z, Parikh SV, Culpepper L, Yatham LN, Lam RW, Chen J

Received 24 September 2020

Accepted for publication 24 December 2020

Published 14 January 2021 Volume 2021:17 Pages 79—90

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S283731

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder


Ran Ha Hong,1 Jill K Murphy,1 Erin E Michalak,1 Trisha Chakrabarty,1 Zuowei Wang,2 Sagar V Parikh,3 Larry Culpepper,4 Lakshmi N Yatham,1 Raymond W Lam,1,* Jun Chen5,*

1Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada; 2Hongkou Mental Health Center, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA; 4Department of Family Medicine, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA; 5Shanghai Mental Health Center, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Raymond W Lam
Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, 2255 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 2A1, Canada
Tel +1 604-822-7325
Email r.lam@ubc.ca

Abstract: Measurement-based care (MBC) can be defined as the clinical practice in which care providers collect patient data through validated outcome scales and use the results to guide their decision-making processes. Despite growing evidence supporting the effectiveness of MBC for depression and other mental health conditions, many physicians and mental health clinicians have yet to adopt MBC practice. In part, this is due to individual and organizational barriers to implementing MBC in busy clinical settings. In this paper, we briefly review the evidence for the efficacy of MBC focusing on pharmacological management of depression and provide example clinical scenarios to illustrate its potential clinical utility in psychiatric settings. We discuss the barriers and challenges for MBC adoption and then address these by suggesting simple solutions to implement MBC for depression care, including recommended outcome scales, monitoring tools, and technology solutions such as cloud-based MBC services and mobile health apps for mood tracking. The availability of MBC tools, ranging from paper-pencil questionnaires to mobile health technology, can allow psychiatrists and clinicians in all types of practice settings to easily incorporate MBC into their practices and improve outcomes for their patients with depression.

Keywords: measurement-based care, major depressive disorder, depression, scales, outcomes, patient-reported outcome measures, implementation, measurement

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