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The British Journal of Psychiatry

Year: 2009  |  Volume: 195  |  Issue: 1  |  Page No.: 15 - 22

Effect of feedback of treatment outcome in specialist mental healthcare: meta-analysis

C Knaup, M Koesters, D Schoefer, T Becker and B. Puschner



Feedback of treatment outcome during the course of therapy (outcome management) is increasingly considered to be beneficial for improving the quality of mental healthcare.


To review the impact of feedback of outcome to practitioners and/or patients in specialist mental health services.


A systematic search and meta-analysis of controlled trials using outcome management in mental health services published in English or German language.


Twelve studies met inclusion criteria. Feeding back outcome showed a small, but significant (d = 0.10; 95% CI 0.01–0.19) positive short-term effect on the mental health of individuals that did not prevail in the long run. Subgroup analysis revealed no significant differences regarding feedback modalities. Outcome management did not contribute to a reduction of treatment duration.


Evidence on the effects of outcome management in mental healthcare is promising. More targeted research is needed in order to identify the effective ingredients of outcome feedback and to assess its cost-effectiveness.

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