Using routine outcome measures as clinical process tools: Maximising the therapeutic yield in the IAPT programme when working remotely

Cintia Faija, Penny Bee, Karina Lovell, Nicky Lidbetter, Judith Gellatly, Kerry Ardern, Kelly Rushton, Helen Brooks, Dean McMillan, C J Armitage, Rebecca Woodhouse, Michael Barkham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of the study was to investigate the administration and use of routine outcome monitoring session by session in the context of improving guided-self-help interventions when delivered remotely at Step 2 care in the English Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services.

Qualitative research using recordings of telephone-treatment sessions.

Participants (11 patients and 11 practitioners) were recruited from four nationally funded IAPT services and one-third sector organisation commissioned to deliver Step 2 IAPT services, in England. Data collection took place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Transcripts of telephone–treatment sessions were analysed using thematic analysis.

Four themes were identified: (1) lack of consistency in the administration of outcome measures (e.g. inconsistent wording); (2) outcome measures administered as a stand-alone inflexible task (e.g. mechanical administration); (3) outcome measures as impersonal numbers (e.g. summarising, categorising and comparing total scores); and (4) missed opportunities to use outcome measures therapeutically (e.g. lack of therapeutic use of item and total scores).

The administration of outcome measures needs to ensure validity and reliability. Therapeutic yield from session-by-session outcome measures could be enhanced by focusing on three main areas: (1) adopting a collaborative conversational approach, (2) maximising the use of total and items scores and (3) integrating outcome measures with in-session treatment decisions. Shifting the perception of outcome measures as impersonal numbers to being process clinical tools ensures a personalised delivery of psychological interventions and has the potential to enhance engagement from practitioners and patients what may reduce drop-out rates and improve clinical outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2022


  • telephone treatment
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • wellbeing
  • psychological wellbeing practitioner
  • Step 2
  • IAPT
  • mental health
  • qualitative study
  • routine outcome measures
  • collaborative conversational approach
  • clinical feedback


Dive into the research topics of 'Using routine outcome measures as clinical process tools: Maximising the therapeutic yield in the IAPT programme when working remotely'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this