Performance measurement in mental health care: present situation and future possibilities

I.J. Baars*, S.M.A.A. Evers, A. Arntz, G.G. van Merode

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Web of Science)


This paper describes performance measurement and its indicators for mental health care services. Performance measurement can serve several goals such as accountability, quality improvement and performance management. For all three purposes structure, process and outcome indicators should be measured. Literature was retrieved from Medline and PsychInfo in order to see which performance indicators were used for the three purposes of performance measurement in mental health care. The indicators were classified in structure, process and outcome indicators. The results show no big differences in the indicators used among studies. Performance management is the performance measurement purpose most referred to, followed by accountability, and quality improvement. Outcome and process indicators are used most, structure indicators are in the minority. Several levels of measurement, that is national or service level, came forward in the literature review. To overcome misinterpretation of data and to be able to improve quality and manage performances, performance indicator sets should refer to structure, process and outcome. Indicators should be chosen carefully with the aim of the measurement taken into mind. Based on this review, a conceptual framework is presented to support managers in their decisions about which indictors can best be used for performance measurement. Additionally, a model that provides an understanding of the use of information gained by performance measurement is given. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-214
Number of pages198
JournalInternational Journal of Health Planning and Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010

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