“Ok, we are going to get some bloodwork done to see what is happening.”
If you have ever been to a doctor, you are familiar with this sentence. Labs are used to confirm a theory the physician has procured about a patient’s diagnosis. Over time, measurements like these are also useful markers to track the progress of a patient’s condition. However, mental health isn’t as tangible as bloodwork, so behavioral healthcare has fallen behind in having a standard measurement based form of care.
Though addiction is understood to be a chronic, treatable health condition, many still perceive it to be a condition of poor morals and a lack of discipline (Broyles et. al, 2014). In 2000, the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) compared relapse rates of four chronic illnesses. Relapse has been notated as the reoccurrence of problematic issues related to the health condition. The comparison found:
- 30-50% for patients with Type 1 diabetes
- 50-70% for patients with hypertension
- 50-70% for patients with asthma
- 40-60% for patients with addiction
Addiction relapse rates are comparable to many other chronic illnesses. Ingrained beliefs that addiction treatment does not work are simply wrong, and thus addiction should be treated with the same standards of Measurement Based Care as any other disease.
Now you might be asking yourself, how could this possibly be implemented?
Measurement Based Care (MBC) tracks the patient’s progress throughout treatment. Using regularly scheduled psychometric tests that correlate with the patient’s symptoms, treatment plans can be refocused, and we can continue to push patient care forward within behavioral healthcare.
Studies are beginning to find that MBC can help to provide better addiction outcomes (Goodman et. al 2013).
Another important aspect of measurement in healthcare is outcome studies that look at patients’ treatment and outcomes over time, especially after treatment. Origins recently conducted a retrospective study looking at outcomes such as rates of use, readmission, quality of relationships, physical health, and quality of life, among other things. (The survey was sent to over 1800 alum, and received an overall response rate of 20.8%.)
- 72% reported they had maintained abstinence the entire time since leaving treatment.
- 81% of participants reported being abstinent for the past 30 days.
- 94% reported their overall quality of life had improved since completing treatment.
- 87% reported their physical health had improved since completing treatment.
- 93% reported that relationships with those most important to them had improved since completing treatment.
Although the relapse rates at Origins are lower than those reported by NIDA, we must continue to work to improve patient care to the highest level.
This week, Origins implemented a Measurement Based Care platform that charts each patient’s progress using psychometric measurements. With this repeated use of measurement, we can help each patient progress while improving our treatment model and its outcomes. We believe that Measurement Based Care is the key to greater accountability and efficacy in behavioral healthcare, and the team at Origins is excited to help blaze this trail.
Broyles, L. M., Binswanger, I. A., Jenkins, J. A., Finnell, D. S., Faseru, B., Cavaiola, A., Pugatch, M., & Gordon, A. J. (2014). Confronting inadvertent stigma and pejorative language in addiction scholarship: a recognition and response. Substance abuse, 35(3), 217–221. https://doi.org/10.1080/08897077.2014.930372
Goodman, J.,Mckay, J., DePhilippis, D.(2013) Progress Monitoring in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment: A Means Of Improving Care.pp.231-246. https://www.kipu.health/wpcontent/uploads/2019/02/662325_1376fff1980044e4ba80cba04b505255.pdf