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J Nerv Ment Dis. 2014 Jun;202(6):501-6. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000152.

Outcomes from Italian community psychiatric services studies.

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*Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Integrata, Verona, Italy; and †Section of Psychiatry, Department of Mental Health and Community Medicine, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.


Outcome measurement, to be valid, reliable, and useful to both program planning and evaluation of interventions, should be based on the principle of multiaxiality (i.e., considering the perspectives of all those involved in the care process, including clinicians, patients, caregivers, users' representatives, third-party payers) and of multidimensionality (i.e., considering an intervention's effect on various dimensions of patients' life, including clinical outcomes such as psychopathology, disability, and needs for care and self-perceived outcomes such as quality of life and service satisfaction). Unfortunately, in Italy, this methodology has not been applied on a large scale. However, some Italian centers with a long-lasting tradition in the area of psychiatric epidemiology have provided evidence that outcome assessment in routine practice is not only sustainable but also advantageous in the medium- and long-term. This article summarizes the results obtained in some of these studies, including three longitudinal studies on the outcome of community psychiatric care promoted by the research group of South Verona, such as the South Verona Outcome Project, the Psychosis Incident Cohort Outcome Study, and the Genetics Endophenotypes and Treatment: Understanding early Psychosis - • Psychosis: early Intervention and Assessment of Needs and Outcome trial.Implementation of routine outcome assessment can lead-and to a certain extent has already led-to a cultural change among Italian mental health service staff members, to facilitate a) the establishment of a revision-of-practice process, b) greater acceptance of the importance of evidence, and a predisposition to put it into practice.

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