Issues associated with the implementation of routine outcome measures in public mental health services

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The purpose of this paper is to examine strategies that may facilitate the successful implementation of service-wide outcome measures in public mental health services.


The available evidence suggests that a top-down approach to the introduction of state-wide routine outcome measurement across all public mental health services is likely to have only limited success. A centrally co-ordinated but locally directed bottom-up approach may be a more successful long-term strategy. Such an approach could make optimum use of a small team of “outcome experts”, while the use of strategies such as the development of local clinical guidelines would increase the co-operation and participation of the wider clinical community. An initial collection of clinical and social demographics could provide important contextual information on service populations and would initiate the administrative and communication networks that would need to be developed for later routine, multi-site data collection.

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