Depression remains among the nation's top 10 chronic illnesses, costing over $80 billion annually. Depression has been called the "Common Cold" of mental illness, but one with serious risk of morbidity and mortality. There are now many evidence-based practices for the treatment of depression, but unfortunately these practices remain largely unavailable to clients receiving services in community mental health centers. Measurement Based Care (MBC) is a relatively simple evidence-based intervention framework. MBC, by definition, is the practice of using symptom measurement to inform mental health care. Physicians who routinely measure the patient's blood pressure when the treatment target is high blood pressure demonstrate the medical corollary of MBC. When MBC is used in the treatment of depressed adults, it has been shown to improve outcomes by identifying clients who are not making progress and reducing the likelihood that clients will deteriorate in treatment. However, despite the demonstrated effectiveness of MBC, the majority of community mental health counselors (i.e., clinicians) do not regularly assess target problem symptoms to guide their work over the course of treatment. To our knowledge, no studies to date have focused on the process of implementing MBC in community mental health settings. The long-term goal of this research project is to provide generalizable and practical recommendations about implementation approaches that promote MBC use and fidelity in community mental health centers. Specifically, this study will test a standardized versus a tailored approach to implementing MBC in one of the nation's largest not-for-profit providers of behavioral health services. Although touted as superior, tailored implementations have rarely been compared to standardized approaches. Moreover, recent research has demonstrated an apparent need to adapt evidence- based practices to fit the specific context in which they are being implemented, particularly if they are to be sustained. This proposal reflects a movement in the field of implementation science in which planned adaptations are being tested and compared to standardized versions. The proposed research is a three-phase, mixed methods (quantitative/qualitative) study to investigate the effect of these two different approaches to MBC implementation on both clinician-level (e.g., MBC fidelity) and client-level (depression symptom change) outcomes. We will focus on contextual factors (e.g., attitudes, resources, process, etc.) that may influence the implementation process with the goal of identifying a generalizable and practical way of bringing MBC to community mental health centers treating depressed adults.
Depression remains among the nation's top 10 chronic illnesses, costing over $80 billion annually;however, Measurement Based Care (MBC) is a relatively simple evidence-based intervention framework that has been shown to improve outcomes for depressed clients by identifying those who are not making progress and reducing the likelihood that clients will deteriorate in treatment. Despite the demonstrated effectiveness o MBC, the majority of community mental health counselors do not regularly assess target problem symptoms to guide their work. This study will test a standardized versus a tailored approach to implementing MBC that will include the integration of symptom monitoring capacities into the electronic health record system of one of the nation's largest not-for-profit providers of behavioral health services.