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Outcome management in in-patient psychiatric care


Bernd Puschner, PhD, Department of Psychiatry II, Ulm University, Ludwig-Heilmeyer-Str. 2, 89312 Günzburg, Ulm, Germany. E-mail:


Objective:  To delineate methods and to describe patient appraisal as well as effect of outcome management in in-patient psychiatric care.

Method:  Two hundred and ninety-four adults with mental illness receiving in-patient treatment at a psychiatric hospital in rural Bavaria gave informed consent to participate in this cluster-randomised trial. Participants were asked to provide information on treatment outcome via weekly computerised standardised assessments. Patients and clinicians in the intervention group received continuous feedback of outcome.

Results:  Patients were willing and able to regularly provide outcome data and valued feedback. However, use of feedback in conversations between patient and clinician was rare. Outcome management failed to impact on patient-rated outcome during in-patient treatment.

Conclusion:  Outcome management is feasible in people receiving in-patient psychiatric care, but failed to show an overall short-term effect. Strategies need to be developed to improve active use of routinely collected treatment outcome data in mental health care.