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Outcomes research in mental health - Systematic review

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

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Publication details

JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
DatePublished - Jul 2002
Volume181
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)816
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Background Outcomes research involves the secondary analysis of data collected routinely by clinical services, in order to judge the effectiveness of interventions and policy initiatives. It permits the study of large databases of patients who are representative of 'real world' practice. However, there are potential problems with this observational design.

Aims To establish the strengths and limitations of outcomes research when applied in mental health.

Method A systematic review was made of the application of outcomes research in mental health services research.

Results Nine examples of outcomes research in mental health services were found. Those that used insurance claims data have information on large numbers of patients but use surrogate outcomes that are of questionable value to clinicians and patients. Problems arise when attempting to adjust for important confounding variables using routinely collected claims data, making results difficult to interpret.

Conclusions Outcomes research is unlikely to be a quick or cheap means of establishing evidence for the effectiveness of mental health practice and policy.

Declaration of interest S.M.G. is supported by the Medical Research Council Fellowship Programme in Health Services Research.

    Research areas

  • POSTTRAUMATIC-STRESS-DISORDER, DATABASE RESEARCH, CONTROLLED TRIALS, ASSESSING QUALITY, HOMELESS PERSONS, MEDICAL OUTCOMES, SERVICE USE, CARE, PSYCHOTHERAPY, DEPRESSION

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