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Routine outcome monitoring in the Netherlands: practical experiences with a web-based strategy for the assessment of treatment outcome in clinical practice



Routine outcome monitoring (ROM) is a method devised to systematically collect data on the effectiveness of treatments in everyday clinical practice. ROM involves documenting the outcome of treatments through repeated assessments. Assistants are employed who perform a baseline assessment comprising a standardized diagnostic interview, administration of rating scales and completion of several self-report measures by the patient. At fixed time intervals, assessments are repeated. Dedicated Web-based software has been developed to assist in this task. ROM informs therapists and patients on the severity of the complaints at intake, and the waxing and waning of symptoms over the course of treatment. Researchers can use ROM for effectiveness research, and managers can use it for benchmarking. The use of ROM for research is illustrated by presenting data on the diagnostic status of patients participating in ROM and data on treatment outcome of a subgroup of patients (with panic disorder) in our database. The results show that implementation of ROM is feasible, and after some initial reservations, most therapists now consider ROM to be a necessary and important adjunct to the clinical treatment. In addition, ROM furthers research as the data can be used to study the phenomenology of psychiatric disorders and the outcome of treatments delivered in everyday practice. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Key Practitioner Message:

• A form of tracking the progress of treatment through routine outcome monitoring (ROM) is described.

• Implementation of ROM appears feasible and can be carried out in large institutions as well as smaller practices.

• Providing feedback about outcome in an appealing format is highly valued by both therapists and patients.

• ROM data enable investigation of the effectiveness of treatments in everyday clinical practice.