Send to

Choose Destination
World Psychiatry. 2018 Feb;17(1):30-38. doi: 10.1002/wps.20482.

Measuring and improving the quality of mental health care: a global perspective.

Author information

Health Services Research and Development Service, Veterans Health Administration, US Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
Department of Behavioral Health Services and Policy Research, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.
RAND Europe, Cambridge, UK.
Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore, UK.
Department of Psychiatry and Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY, USA.


Mental disorders are common worldwide, yet the quality of care for these disorders has not increased to the same extent as that for physical conditions. In this paper, we present a framework for promoting quality measurement as a tool for improving quality of mental health care. We identify key barriers to this effort, including lack of standardized information technology-based data sources, limited scientific evidence for mental health quality measures, lack of provider training and support, and cultural barriers to integrating mental health care within general health environments. We describe several innovations that are underway worldwide which can mitigate these barriers. Based on these experiences, we offer several recommendations for improving quality of mental health care. Health care payers and providers will need a portfolio of validated measures of patient-centered outcomes across a spectrum of conditions. Common data elements will have to be developed and embedded within existing electronic health records and other information technology tools. Mental health outcomes will need to be assessed more routinely, and measurement-based care should become part of the overall culture of the mental health care system. Health care systems will need a valid way to stratify quality measures, in order to address potential gaps among subpopulations and identify groups in most need of quality improvement. Much more attention should be devoted to workforce training in and capacity for quality improvement. The field of mental health quality improvement is a team sport, requiring coordination across different providers, involvement of consumer advocates, and leveraging of resources and incentives from health care payers and systems.


Mental disorders; electronic health records; health care systems; health informatics; health policy; patient-centered outcomes; quality measurement; quality of care

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center