Background: Routine outcome measurement (ROM) is important for assessing the clinical effectiveness of health services and for monitoring patient outcomes. Within Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in the UK the adoption of ROM in CAMHS has been supported by both national and local initiatives (such as government strategies, local commissioning policy, and research).
Methods: With the aim of assessing how these policies and initiatives may have influenced the uptake of ROM within two different CAMHS we report the findings of two case-note audits: a baseline audit conducted in January 2011 and a re-audit conducted two years later in December 2012-February 2013.
Results: The findings show an increase in both the single and repeated use of outcome measures from the time of the original audit, with repeated use (baseline and follow-up) of the Health of the Nation Outcome Scale for Children and Adolescents (HoNOSCA) scale increasing from 10% to 50% of cases. Re-audited case-notes contained more combined use of different outcome measures, with greater consensus on which measures to use. Outcome measures that were applicable across a wide range of clinical conditions were more likely to be used than symptom-specific measures, and measures that were completed by the clinician were found more often than measures completed by the service user.
Conclusions: The findings show a substantial improvement in the use of outcome measures within CAMHS. These increases in use were found across different service organisations which were subject to different types of local service priorities and drivers.