Mental Health Value Challenge – how can we maximise the use of resources in mental health to provide the best possible outcomes for service users?

Catherine Mitchell, HFMA head of costing and value

05 October 2020


How can we know that we are spending the mental health pound well? This is a question which mental health services are grappling with as they seek to develop an evidence base to understand how well they use their resources. 

While mental health trusts are keen to apply a value-based approach to service improvement, there are few examples of projects with a true focus on value - maximising the outcomes which matter to people at the lowest possible cost-  with most projects focusing on improvements to productivity.

The Mental Health Value Challenge is the third value challenge undertaken by HFMA’s Healthcare Costing for Value Institute. The Institute value challenge projects work with members to put the theory of value-based healthcare into practice.

The term ‘value’ can mean different things to different people, for example service users, clinical teams, and finance.  Any conversation about ‘value’ must start from the service user perspective – what are the outcomes that matter to a person with mental health problems? When we talk about ‘value’ in this briefing, we are referring to how mental health services can maximise the use of their resources to provide the best possible outcomes for service users.

This discussion briefing describes our findings so far and covers:
• the role of clinical and financial collaboration in improving value 
• the data building blocks required to measure value 
• how value can be improved in mental health.

The Institute is interested to hear the views of others on how we measure value in mental health. Please email your ideas and comments to catherine.mitchell@hfma.org.uk

More information about the Healthcare Costing for Value Institute’s programme can be found here

Sheila Stenson, director of finance at Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust, has written a blog for the HFMA on this topic. Read it here.
Mental Health Value Challenge – how can we maximise the use of resources in mental health to provide the best possible outcomes for service users?

October 2020 (PDF 1281KB)

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