Objective measurement of psychiatric symptoms: a quality improvement process for inpatient care.

S. Imbornoni, K. Donenwirth, B. Orr, T. Hagesfeld, G. Gintoli, P. Buckley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The objective measurement of patient improvement and outcome in mental health is a welcome, if challenging, goal. A continuous quality improvement (CQI) project was undertaken at an extended care facility in northeastern Ohio. The objectives of the CQI project, as delineated in May 1994, were to improve the administration of the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) and the presentation and use of findings. EVALUATION STANDARDIZATION: A cross-functional team, meeting between April and September 1994, made a series of recommendations. After a training program was initiated in fall 1994, interrater reliability of the BPRS increased. A schedule for BPRS evaluations resulted in more even distribution of evaluations within a quarter. DATABASE DEVELOPMENT: A new work group, formed in late 1994, reviewed previous system improvements and identified future directions. For example, it decided to refine the BPRS evaluation form itself to facilitate data entry of the evaluation information and to consider possible formats for clinically useful presentation of the serial evaluation data. CLINICAL OUTCOME MEASUREMENT: Actual clinical performance improvement indicators (as opposed to the administrative compliance indicators) were instituted to notify staff of significant patient improvement or deterioration, which in turn would prompt refinement of treatment. CURRENT WORK: The interrelationships and implications of BPRS-driven clinical outcome(s), length of hospital stay, and cost of services are being considered to determine the effects of new medications and other treatments. CONCLUDING REMARKS: As the complexity and demands of mental health care continue to rapidly evolve, symptom measurement and patient outcome are set to become critical determinants in the ultimate allocation of increasingly limited resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-195
Number of pages13
JournalThe Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management


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