Introduction of routine outcome measures: staff reactions and issues for consideration

J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2006 Oct;13(5):581-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2006.00985.x.


The aim of this study was to explore clinician reactions to (i) the introduction of routine outcome measures and (ii) the utility of outcomes data in clinical practice. Focus group discussions (n = 34) were conducted with mental health staff (n = 324) at approximately 8 months post implementation of routine outcome measures. A semi-structured interview schedule was used to collect data on two key issues; reactions to the introduction of outcome measures and factors influencing the utility of outcomes data in clinical practice. Data from the discussion groups were analysed using content analysis to isolate emerging themes. While the majority of participants endorsed the collection and utilization of outcomes data, many raised questions about the merits of the initiative. Ambivalence, competing work demands, lack of support from senior medical staff, questionable evidence to support the use of outcome measures, and fear of how outcomes data might be used emerged as key issues. At 8 months post implementation a significant number of clinical staff remained ambivalent about the benefits of outcome measurement and had not engaged in the process. The shift to a service model driven by outcomes and case-mix data will take time and resources to achieve. Implications for nursing staff are discussed.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Data Collection
  • Fear
  • Feedback, Psychological
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Personnel / education
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Mandatory Programs / organization & administration*
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • National Health Programs / organization & administration
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Professional Role
  • Program Evaluation
  • Queensland
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workload