Implementing outcome systems: Lessons from a test of the BASIS-32 and the SF-36

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Abstract

With increasing pressure from third-party payers to assess client outcomes, clinical programs want to know how to implement outcome systems. This article focuses on practical and logistic questions involved in implementing an outcome assessment system in ambulatory behavioral healthcare settings. Study questions addressed outcome systems in general and the use of the Behavior and Symptom Identification Scale (BASIS-32) and the Short Form Health Status Profile (SF-36) in particular. General questions focused on obtaining provider buy-in, client consent and confidentiality, data collection methods, sampling, time points, maximizing client participation, clinical utility of outcome data, and resources needed for outcome assessment. Measure-specific questions focused on client acceptability of the instruments and applicability of measures to diverse populations. The article suggests several strategies for enhancing outcome assessment efforts and concludes that there remains a need for further understanding of ways to maximize the utility and value of outcome measurement.