Strategies for Increasing Completion of Measurement-Informed Care Surveys

This article provides practical strategies and tips for boosting client engagement and completing measurement-informed care (MIC) surveys. 

NOTE: Before their appointment, you can verify if your client has finished the measurement survey and send a reminder if needed. Check out the article HERE to learn more.

Client challenges related to completing measurement-informed care surveys

Some clients may express reluctance or difficulty in completing surveys that ask about their mental health symptoms and the strength of the therapeutic relationship.

Common barriers might include worrying about their personal information being misused or not kept confidential, busy schedules making it difficult to remember to complete the surveys, sensitivity around disclosing the severity of mental health symptoms, substance use, or suicidal ideation, and challenges with language or literacy. 

The following practical strategies and tips can equip therapists to meet clients' needs and address common barriers.

Tips for increasing completion of measurement surveys

  1. Create space to address client questions and concerns in an empathetic manner. Negative past experiences, unclear purpose or benefits, or difficulties with reading and comprehension can all be challenges to a client completing MIC surveys. If a client seems hesitant, actively listen to their concerns by asking clarifying questions. Validate their feelings to create a safe space for open communication. This empathetic and supportive approach is the first step to encouraging participation and increasing response rates.

    If a client reports being  "too busy" to complete the MIC surveys, explore solutions together. Motivational interviewing techniques can be particularly useful, as well as offering the client a few moments at the start of the session to find the link and complete the surveys in real-time can be helpful. MIC innately helps clients engage in routine self-monitoring and reflection, and we want to support them in prioritizing that during treatment and beyond. 

  2. Explain MIC simply. Avoid jargon and encourage clients to think of MIC in therapy as no different than their doctor taking vital signs every visit—such as measuring blood pressure and temperature. Tracking symptoms and how the client feels about therapy helps therapists understand their progress and make changes to treatment if needed. Just like vitals help a doctor, MIC helps therapists provide the best care possible.

  3. Show clients how measures connect to their goals. Some clients might not see the point of MIC if the questions don't seem relevant. Helping clients to “connect the dots” between the items on the various measures and their individual goals for treatment can help them see the immense value of completing these surveys. Case in point, for a client with an anxiety disorder diagnosis struggling to sleep, consider how their response to the GAD-7 item #2, “Not being able to stop control or worrying,” may be an ideal treatment target. Is ruminating, racing thoughts keeping them awake? The therapist and client could use this to create a targeted treatment plan goal and objective focused on managing maladaptive thoughts and improving sleep.

Key takeaways

Meet the client where they’re at. Stay curious about potential barriers to survey completion, including client comfort level and understanding. Create space to validate concerns, address questions, and explain the benefits.

Make completing measures a regular part of care. Consistently discussing the clinical benefits of the measures and finding meaningful ways to incorporate them into care sets the stage for the client to complete them on an ongoing basis.

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