Using Progress Feedback to Enhance Treatment Outcomes: A Narrative Review

Kim de Jong, Susan Douglas, Miranda Wolpert, Jaime Delgadillo, Benjamin Aas (Co-author), Bram Bovendeerd, Ingrid Carlier, Angelo Compare, Julian Edbrooke-Childs, Pauline Janse, Wolfgang Lutz, Christian Moltu, Samuel Nordberg, Stig Poulsen, Julian A. Rubel, Guenter Schiepek (Co-author), Viola N. L. S. Schilling, Maartje van Sonsbeek, Michael Barkham

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


We face increasing demand for greater access to effective routine mental health services, including telehealth. However, treatment outcomes in routine clinical practice are only about half the size of those reported in controlled trials. Progress feedback, defined as the ongoing monitoring of patients' treatment response with standardized measures, is an evidence-based practice that continues to be under-utilized in routine care. The aim of the current review is to provide a summary of the current evidence base for the use of progress feedback, its mechanisms of action and considerations for successful implementation. We reviewed ten available meta-analyses, which report small to medium overall effect sizes. The results suggest that adding feedback to a wide range of psychological and psychiatric interventions (ranging from primary care to hospitalization and crisis care) tends to enhance the effectiveness of these interventions. The strongest evidence is for patients with common mental health problems compared to those with very severe disorders. Effect sizes for not-on-track cases, a subgroup of cases that are not progressing well, are found to be somewhat stronger, especially when clinical support tools are added to the feedback. Systematic reviews and recent studies suggest potential mechanisms of action for progress feedback include focusing the clinician's attention, altering clinician expectations, providing new information, and enhancing patient-centered communication. Promising approaches to strengthen progress feedback interventions include advanced systems with signaling technology, clinical problem-solving tools, and a broader spectrum of outcome and progress measures. An overview of methodological and implementation challenges is provided, as well as suggestions for addressing these issues in future studies. We conclude that while feedback has modest effects, it is a small and affordable intervention that can potentially improve outcomes in psychological interventions. Further research into mechanisms of action and effective implementation strategies is needed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalAdministration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research
Early online dateMay 2024
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2024


  • Measurement-based care
  • Progress feedback
  • Routine outcome monitoring


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