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Challenges and opportunities in measuring the quality of mental health care.

Kilbourne AM, Keyser D, Pincus HA. Challenges and opportunities in measuring the quality of mental health care. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. Revue Canadienne De Psychiatrie. 2010 Sep 1; 55(9):549-57.

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The purpose of our paper is to delineate the barriers to mental health quality measurement, and to identify strategies to enhance the development and use of quality measures by mental health providers, programs, payers, and other stakeholders in the service of improving outcomes for people with mental health and substance use disorders. Key reasons for the lag in mental health performance measurement include lack of sufficient evidence regarding appropriate mental health care, poorly defined quality measures, limited descriptions of mental health services from existing clinical data, and lack of linked electronic health information. We discuss strategies for overcoming these barriers that are being implemented in several countries, including the need to have quality improvement as part of standard clinical training curricula, refinement of technologies to promote adequate data capture of mental health services, use of incentives to promote provider accountability for improving care, and the need for mental health researchers to improve the evidence base for mental health treatment.

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