What is Measurement-Based Care?

Measurement-based care (MBC) is the practice of using standardized measurements to assess behavioral health patients to inform treatment decisions.

MBC improves patient outcomes, enhances clinical decision making and quality of care, enriches communication between patient and provider, and demonstrates the value of treatment.

What is the practice of measurement-based care?

Measurement-based care (MBC) is “The systematic evaluation of patient symptoms before or during each clinical encounter to inform behavioral health treatment.”

MBC evaluates how a patient changes over the course of their treatment. While clinical evaluation and impression of a patient’s progress is important, MBC provides a more systematic evaluation to help inform the behavioral health treatment over the course of time.

Patient engages and completes measures
Collaborative review of progress informs treatment decisions
Aggregated data provide population-level insights

The practice of measurement-based care provides:

  1. An immediate way for patients and providers to understand symptomatology at any given moment.
  2. An engagement between patient and provider that provides a collaborative understanding of changes in symptoms over the course of treatment.
  3. Aggregated data that allows organizations to have population level insights including outcomes across providers, effectiveness of particular programs, and other high-level insights to optimize care.

Let’s review more benefits of MBC.

The Benefits of Measurement-Based Care

Measurement-based care addresses today’s behavioral health issues

  • Improve patient care and clinical outcomes
    Patient care and outcomes are better when clinicians can systematically evaluate and monitor patients. MBC helps patients improve quicker, requiring less sessions.
  • Expand access to services
    With fewer sessions, organizations can expand access to services by opening up precious spots in clinician schedules.
  • Decrease cost of care
    MBC results in improved outcomes and more efficiencies, lowering the cost of care.
When comparing measurement-based care with usual treatment, MBC results in higher response rates to treatment, fewer required sessions, as well as more patients in remission. In fact, research shows patients who received measurement-based care were more than 2.5 times more likely to reach remission and treatment response time was reduced by half.

Measurement-based care helps clinicians


  • Better monitoring of treatment response, including assessing severity levels and providing data to personalize treatment
  • Deeper and more actionable insights on suicide risk and substance use
  • Better detection of insufficient treatment and patient deterioration
  • Stronger therapeutic alliance
  • Reduction in no-shows due to higher patient engagement

Providers find MBC helpful to support clinical decision making. According to research, clinicians often struggle to detect patient deterioration using only clinical judgement. In one important study, almost 79% of clinicians did not detect when their patient’s were getting worse. MBC provides a vital tool for clinicians to better care for their patients.

Measurement-based care engages patients

Not only does MBC help clinicians, but patients are also very receptive to it as well. Patients perceive MBC as:

  • Efficient
  • Complementary to provider judgment
  • Evidence that providers take mental health problems seriously
  • A way to help them understand their symptoms and behaviors

Owl has seen 90% patient engagement in MBC when an organization uses our solution. Learn more about how Owl supports MBC below.

Measurement-based care is essential for organizational leadership

  • Deliver consistent, standardized care throughout the organization
  • Measure and benchmark organization quality and effectiveness
  • Prepare for value-based care
  • Identify service gaps and proactively fill them

To support quality metrics for payers, grant funders, and policymakers, it’s essential for behavioral health leaders to have the ability to measure and collect population-level outcomes data. By having MBC data, leaders will see improved efficiencies that deliver improved financial results.

Customers who rely on Owl to practice measurement-basedcare see a 90% patient-engagement rate

Using measurement-based care in your organization

Most behavioral health providers aren’t using MBC despite its vast benefits. Recent research revealed just 20% of clinicians are using MBC due to clinician concerns about additional effort, EHR challenges, patient concerns, or low patient engagement.

Owl makes measurement-based care easy.

By combining the practice of MBC with Owl’s technology, you’ll seamlessly integrate MBC into your practice to expand access and improve outcomes.

How Owl Works

With Owl, organizations quickly onboard new patients, assess their needs, and triage them to the right clinician and treatment.

Provide whole person care by capturing comprehensive behavioral health data with social determinants of health factors and overall well-being and satisfaction.

Patients complete evidence-based measures at their convenience on any device. Automated reminders prompt patients to complete assessments throughout their treatment. Owl scores, norms, and graphs patients’ progress.

With the most comprehensive library of evidence-based measures and pre-defined measure bundles, clinicians track patient progress throughout treatment to optimize care. Clinicians can easily optimize care pathways, monitor progress, and pivot treatment when necessary.

Analytics and outcome reporting allow leaders to benchmark performance across the organization and generate reports that support quality metrics for payers, grant funders, and policymakers. With population-level outcomes data, be ready for value-based care initiatives.

“Owl changed the conversation by enabling our organization to implement measurement-based care easily, efficiently, and cost-effectively in order to achieve our ultimate goal of enhancing patient care.”

Rick Leichtweis, Ph.D., Executive Director, Inova Kellar Center

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