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Outcome measures for children and adolescents

The Child and Young Person Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (CYP IAPT) project is a programme of service transformation that seeks to improve Child and Adolescent Mental Health services (CAMHs) working in the community, including NHS, local authority and voluntary sector organisations. It is very different in nature to the Adult IAPT programme as it does not create standalone services.

The programme began in 2011 and currently has coverage in 60% of NHS CAMHs teams in England. CYP IAPT is based on a number of key principles one of which relates to the use of routine outcome measures to track and monitor change. The collection of paired outcome data has traditionally been low in CAMHs and is generally much lower than within adult IAPT services.

An Oxford AHSN project has been in place since 2015 to start to address this issue.

During the course of the first phase of this project, a collaborative of dedicated and enthusiastic clinical leads and data managers within local CYP IAPT services (Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Bedfordshire and Oxfordshire) has been established and baseline data collected locally on the collection of ROMs from each CAMH service. The Oxford AHSN Anxiety and Depression Network has provided support to improve data completion rates and has achieved a ten percentage point increase across the majority of its member services where the data has been analysed.

However, there have been a number of issues, (primarily around data management systems) associated with collecting routine outcome measures (ROMs) data completeness rates, and it has not been clear what the impact of individual initiatives has been on data completeness. On the basis of extensive consultation with our stakeholders this workstream will continue to focus on increasing the use of ROMs in CAMHs. In addition, we will carry out a series of linked projects to address perceived barriers to the integration of ROMs in core CAMHs work which include addressing:

  1. the meaningfulness of measures used as ROMs
  2. clinician reservations/lack of knowledge about the use of ROMs
  3. the perceptions of children and young people and their parents and carers about the use of ROMs.
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