Columbus Park believes in Feedback Informed Treatment (FIT). We shouldn’t wait weeks into treatment to assess how patients are responding. Instead, progress should be monitored closely right from the start. Furthermore, adjustments to the treatment need to be made promptly if the chosen intervention is not leading to sufficient early change.
Feedback Informed Treatment is an ongoing process of treatment review between client and clinician.
Also called Outcomes Informed Care, it is typically achieved via a patient self-report questionnaire completed at regular intervals (weekly at Columbus Park) throughout the treatment. When clinicians use the practice of informed care, they’re soliciting consistent feedback from the patient regarding their overall distress, frequency of target behaviors (like eating disorder symptoms) and the patient’s feelings about the therapy itself (i.e. Is treatment meeting the patient’s needs and expectations?).
Extensive research tells us that therapists who incorporate FIT in their practices achieve better treatment outcomes that those who do not use this ongoing feedback method.
There are several reasons for these improved results.
1. Feedback-informed treatment leads to a stronger therapeutic alliance.
As part of a regular questionnaire, the client can safely share his/her ever-evolving feelings about the therapy relationship. Are the discussions in therapy feeling relevant and in line with the client’s needs and interests? Is the client aligned with the overall treatment plan? Is the client feeling understood by the therapist?
Not surprisingly, if the client is encouraged to share when the therapy is not meeting their needs, it gives the therapist the opportunity to address the concerns promptly and do what it takes to guide the relationship back on track. It’s easy to see how this approach would lead to better treatment adherence, lower dropout rates, and, ultimately, a better outcome.
2. As previously mentioned, receiving consistent feedback regarding the client’s improvement – as in, “Is the client actually getting better?” – makes it possible for the therapist to promptly tweak or change the treatment to be most effective.
With the Columbus Park system, therapists can essentially monitor patient outcomes in real time and quickly see if a patient is at increased risk (as in, increase in suicidal thinking or substance use that might not otherwise be reported in session) or simply if they are doing “as expected” or “better than expected” or if they are “off track.”
3. Assessment of patient progress encourages providers to self-reflect on their efforts.
After all, how can you improve your performance in any field without objective feedback? With feedback, providers are apt to seek additional resources and/or colleague support when their patients are off track.
4. Quantifiable symptom ratings and virtually instant feedback about progress puts the client in the driver seat of their treatment process and encourages investment in achieving treatment milestones right from the start.
This “results orientation” encourages commitment and prompt action in the treatment. After all, “[e]arly symptomatic response is one of the most well-established and replicated predictors of psychological therapy outcomes, and it is the single best prognostic indicator in the specific field of eating disorders.[i]”
Of note, by tracking client outcomes, clinicians can demonstrate effective treatment protocols clearly and concretely to both policy makers and insurance providers. This communication results in increased funding, better coverage, and higher reimbursement rates for the delivery of gold-standard treatments.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, please reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss treatment options.
[i] Chang PGRY, Delgadillo J, Waller G. Early response to psychological treatment for eating disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin Psychol Rev. 2021 Jun;86:102032. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2021.102032. Epub 2021 Apr 18. PMID: 33915335.