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From The CriticsReviewer: John K. Larson, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This book presents the measurement and management of clinical outcomes in mental health in two sections. The first deals with conceptual and practical considerations in practitioner research and the second presents examples of outcome measurement in a variety of healthcare service sectors. The book contains in-depth discussions of current trends, challenges, and an excellent chapter covering implementation strategies. It contains numerous tables and figures that help to clarify major points.
Purpose: The stated purpose is to prepare the reader, regardless of research background, to lead or actively participate in the process of including outcomes as a crucial component of the management and administration of behavioral healthcare.
Audience: The intended audience consists of mental health providers, health plan administrators, and policymakers at every level.
Features: The book is written in clear, coherent prose and is extremely well organized. The book's division into a conceptual section followed by examples is particularly effective. Section one includes six chapters covering such topics as defining and measuring clinical outcomes, consumer satisfaction, methods of measurement, and the use of outcome measurement to improve quality. The second section takes examples from acute psychiatric services, outpatient services, substance abuse services, specialized services for adolescents and children, and community-based services. There is also a useful appendix containing the authors' reviews of commonly available outcome instruments, their strengths and weaknesses. Tables, graphs, and figures sprinkled liberally throughout provide additional clarity and impact.
Assessment: The book serves a number of useful purposes. It provides a cogent, well-reasoned overview of the issues and challenges of meaningful outcomes research. It is sufficiently basic to serve as an introduction to this complex topic, yet challenging enough for the seasoned clinician/researcher. It is also practical and can serve as a useful guide to anyone seriously desiring to implement the measurement of behavioral health outcomes.