The objective of the study was to investigate the administration and use of routine outcome monitoring session by session in the context of improving guided-self-help interventions when delivered remotely at Step 2 care in the English Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services.
Qualitative research using recordings of telephone-treatment sessions.
Participants (11 patients and 11 practitioners) were recruited from four nationally funded IAPT services and one-third sector organisation commissioned to deliver Step 2 IAPT services, in England. Data collection took place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Transcripts of telephone–treatment sessions were analysed using thematic analysis.
Four themes were identified: (1) lack of consistency in the administration of outcome measures (e.g. inconsistent wording); (2) outcome measures administered as a stand-alone inflexible task (e.g. mechanical administration); (3) outcome measures as impersonal numbers (e.g. summarising, categorising and comparing total scores); and (4) missed opportunities to use outcome measures therapeutically (e.g. lack of therapeutic use of item and total scores).
The administration of outcome measures needs to ensure validity and reliability. Therapeutic yield from session-by-session outcome measures could be enhanced by focusing on three main areas: (1) adopting a collaborative conversational approach, (2) maximising the use of total and items scores and (3) integrating outcome measures with in-session treatment decisions. Shifting the perception of outcome measures as impersonal numbers to being process clinical tools ensures a personalised delivery of psychological interventions and has the potential to enhance engagement from practitioners and patients what may reduce drop-out rates and improve clinical outcomes.