What is PCOMS?
The Partners for Change Outcome Management System (PCOMS) includes two evidence-based, transtheoretical scales for monitoring the quality and outcome of behavioral healthcare services. Multiple randomized clinical trials (RCTs) have shown that PCOMS as much as doubles the effectiveness of treatment while simultaneously reducing dropout, deterioration rates, and service delivery costs.
The PCOMS measures have been successfully implemented in a variety of service settings (outpatient, inpatient, case-management, prison-based, child protection, and in home) and diverse clinical populations (adults, children, ambulatory, chronic), and are listed on the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices.
In practice, PCOMS involves administering two simple clinical tools, the Outcome Rating Scale (ORS) and the Session Rating Scale (SRS). Data from the measures are then integrated into clinical practice through Feedback-Informed Treatment (FIT), a method for using client feedback regarding the therapeutic alliance and outcome of care to inform, tailor, and improve service delivery. FIT is not only consistent with but also operationalizes the American Psychological Association’s (APA) definition of evidence-based practice. To wit, FIT involves “the integration of the best available research…and monitoring of patient progress (and of changes in the patient’s circumstances – e.g., job loss, major illness) that may suggest the need to adjust the treatment (e.g., problems in the therapeutic relationship or in the implementation of the goals of the treatment)” (APA Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice, 2006, pp. 273, 276-277).