Mental Health Care Consumers’ Relative Valuing of Clinician Performance Information

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Background: Research demonstrates significant variability in mental health clinicians’ overall and domain-specific effectiveness with their patients. Despite calls to increase patient access to performance information, little is known about patients’ relative valuing of this information in the context of other treatment factors. Objective: We aimed to obtain an understanding of patients’ relative valuing of provider performance track records and other therapist and treatment characteristics for their mental health care decision making. Method: Participants were 403 (Mage = 41.20; 66.5% female) community mental health patients who completed a multicomponent survey that included an adapted delayed-discounting paradigm to examine the relative valuing. Multiple descriptive, quantitative indices of relative valuing were calculated, as well as an exploratory latent profile analysis to ascertain the presence of homogenous relative-valuing subgroups. Results: Overall, participants valued provider track record information. They also evidenced relatively higher preference values for working with therapists who had specific efficacy in treating their primary problem domain, charged less, and with whom there is a high likelihood of establishing a good alliance. Two latent profiles were identified: one representing higher valuing of provider performance and another consistently representing less emphasis. Participants with higher track-record valuing were younger, believed that therapists are not interchangeable, and endorsed trust in the collection and use of performance information. Conclusion: Harnessing clinician information to make more personalized and informed treatment decisions could potentially promote better treatment engagement, retention, and outcomes.

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