Better Outcomes? Yes, please!

Horizon Treatment Services partners with Vista Research on Measurement Based Care (MBC)

By Jaime Campos, CEO

Who’s on board with maximizing our client outcomes? We are!!  Allow us to introduce to you measurement-based care (MBC), a practice of basing clinical care on client data collected during treatment. MBC is an established evidence-based framework that provides insight into one’s treatment progress by way of measuring real-time improvement (or sometimes not) in symptomatology. 1 It has been used in behavioral health treatment settings to measure a broad range of symptoms from depression, anxiety, and trauma to name a few; with results reviewed by the client and clinician to assess how well one is responding to certain interventions.  Indeed, researchers have found that this feedback process has intervention properties which triggers positive change in a high percentage of patient encounters. This is achieved through the very process of symptom monitoring, improving communication between patient and clinician, and effecting patient changes in self-efficacy and quality of life.2  With such promising evidence supporting MBC’s effectiveness with our client population and with a demonstrated ability to improve treatment retention and related outcomes,3 how could we resist?   

In addition to providing our residential program with the tools necessary to measure a person’s symptoms, Vista Research Group’s innovative platform also integrates an alarming mechanism that alerts our clinicians to critical client reports of self-harming thoughts. This information is collected at admission so that a baseline can be established, and a weekly reassessment is conducted to measure progress across multiple domains.  “Why measure at baseline and in an ongoing fashion thereafter,” you might ask; “isn’t that assessment overload?”  Importantly, the evidence is clear that simple, one-time screening approaches are not adequate, and that measurement works best when it is fed back to the client in order to inform the treatment process over time.4   

It is a game changer for our field since it enables data-driven treatment planning; setting the stage for a variety of targeted interventions based on assessment results. Collaborating with the client to review this information is, in and of itself, a powerful intervention that facilitates the change process. Data-driven selection of key interventions is such an effective tool!  For example, we might see an individual admitted to treatment with elevated symptoms of traumatic stress disorder, making them an ideal candidate for trauma-focused interventions such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy! 

Moreover, Vista will be conducting post-discharge follow-up surveys to help us understand the one-year outcomes of our client base, comparing us to national norms! We are piloting this platform at our Cronin men’s residential treatment program this year and will surely report highlights of progress in the year ahead! 


[1] Scott K, Lewis CC. Using Measurement-Based Care to Enhance Any Treatment. Cogn Behav Pract. 2015 Feb;22(1):49-59. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpra.2014.01.010. PMID: 27330267; PMCID: PMC4910387.
[2] Aboraya A, Nasrallah HA, Elswick DE, et al. Measurement-based care in psychiatry-past, present, and future. Innov Clin Neurosci. 2018;15(11-12):13-26.
[3] Miller, S. D., Duncan, B. L., Brown, J., Sorrell, R., & Chalk, M. B. Using formal client feedback to improve retention and outcome: Making ongoing, real -time assessment feasible. J Brief Therapy, 2006;5(1),5-22.
[4] Fortney JC, Unützer J, Wrenn G, Pyne JM, Smith GR, Schoenbaum M, Harbin HT. A Tipping Point for Measurement-Based Care. Psychiatr Serv. 2017 Feb 1;68(2):179-188. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201500439. Epub 2016 Sep 1. PMID: 27582237.

Enjoy this video with Joanna Conti, President and CEO of Vista Research Group, Inc.