Measurement-Based Mental Health2022-04-16

What gets measured gets managed.

Peter Drucker

Measurement-based care can and should be used more in mental health, like it is being used in diabetes, for better diagnosis, treatment and prevention. It can be used for:

  1. better (self-) assessments for patients,
  2. targeting treatments and measuring response for clinicians,
  3. providing improvement data to payers, and
  4. to help develop novel therapeutics as part of clinical trials.

The use of measurements, with existing or new tools, should be encouraged and rewarded, in each of the four domains. In mental health, by necessity, it is a combination of subjective and objective measures. We have developed novel science-based phenomic tools (digital apps) and genomic tools (biological markers) to facilitate quantification and objectivity.

More broadly, as individuals, how do we understand the influence of life events on feelings and thoughts, and of feelings and thoughts on life events? Life events, as well as feelings and thoughts, can be measured qualitatively (absent/present, like genetic mutations) or quantitatively (differential expression, like gene expression). The relationship can be analyzed and understood in a hypothesis-driven fashion (candidate approach) or discovery-driven fashion (“fishing expedition”). Correlation does not mean causation, and directionality matters for causation. As such, longitudinal data is better than cross-sectional, density of data is better than sparsity, and interventional data is better than observational data. Our Life x Mind app can enable such deep analyses and insights, for individuals and their therapists. Such effort will be rewarded with improved quality, and even improved quantity, of life.

Live. Happier. Longer.