Integrating Real-Time Feedback of Outcome Assessment for Individual Patients in an Inpatient Psychiatric Setting: A Case Study of Personalized Psychiatric Medicine

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Routine assessment of psychiatric patient outcomes is rare, despite growing evidence that feedback to clinicians and patients concerning patient progress improves treatment outcomes. The authors present a case in which real-time feedback proved beneficial in the treatment of a woman with a personality disorder admitted for inpatient treatment due to worsening depression, anxiety, severe suicide risk, and decline in functioning. During the course of her 10-week hospitalization, she completed standardized assessments of symptoms/functioning at admission, at 2 week intervals, and at discharge. The distinctive feature of this case is the way in which real-time feedback to the treatment team, psychiatrist, and patient exposed hidden treatment barriers. In the midst of an improving profile with decreasing symptom severity, the patient experienced a spike in distress and symptoms, prompting her treatment team to examine the treatment plan and to engage the patient around understanding the decline in functioning. This intervention revealed a replay of a familiar pattern in the patient’s life that led to the identification and repair of a rupture in the therapeutic alliance and to an improvement in the patient’s functioning. This case expands on previous research concerning the integration of individualized assessments into outpatient treatment and it illustrates the need to extend outpatient research to inpatient settings. (Journal of Psychiatric Practice 2015;21:72–78)

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