Reviewing measurement-informed care in session with clients

This article explains why it's important to review completed measurement-informed care (MIC) surveys with clients, and offers best practices for integrating them into care.

Why reviewing measurement-informed care is important

It’s vital that therapists engage in “deliberate practice” of reviewing scores and incorporating them into care. When clients take the time and effort to complete self-reported measures, but the therapist does not review them, it not only deters future completion of measures but serves as a missed opportunity to personalize care.

Imagine a doctor measuring your vitals, but never looking at the results or explaining them. This information is crucial for your doctor to understand your health and make informed decisions about your treatment. Similarly, therapists who don't use completed measures miss valuable insights into their clients' individual needs.

Best practices for incorporating measurement-informed care into sessions with clients

Here are some best practice considerations for how to incorporate MIC survey responses into client care.

Start every appointment with a quick review of measures

Integrate reviewing measurement survey responses (like reviewing vitals at a doctor's visit) at the start of each session. Embedding this as a standard of care in your practice emphasizes the value and purpose of MIC to your clients and encourages client engagement.

Discuss scores together

While reviewing scores on your own beforehand is helpful, dedicate time at the beginning of the session to discuss them collaboratively. For example, “Thank you for completing the check in survey, I noticed that one of the questions that asks about difficulty sleeping, you marked that it has been causing you problems nearly every day, that must be really difficult. Would you like to explore that together today? 

Track progress over time

A key benefit of MIC is monitoring score changes over time - whether that's shifts in overall score or on a single item. This opportunity for tangible reflection of progress, or lack thereof, serves as a clinical springboard for making treatment decisions. Consider a client reporting feeling “stuck” in their depression despite the progress you feel they have made: compare their PHQ-9 scores from baseline to current to see if there has been a change. Even a small score reduction of a few points is of value to collaboratively recognize and celebrate as progress. MIC empowers clients to acknowledge treatment momentum based on their own self-report responses to the surveys, beyond the assessment of the therapist.

Use MIC data to adapt care

Let’s be clear—nothing replaces your clinical assessment as a licensed therapist. MIC is merely another tool in your clinical toolbox that complements your overall assessment. Just like a doctor may discover a patient has high blood pressure and use that objective data to change up medications or treatment, consider how the MIC data you have access to could do the same. Often what we learn from MIC scores may lead us to update the treatment plan or shift the focus of care, re-assess the client’s diagnosis and/or level of care, change up the interventions being used, or engage in reparative work towards a ruptured therapeutic alliance.

Additional resources

For specific strategies for using MIC based on the data, see these additional resources.

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