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Categories of Outcome


Technical information :: Types of outcome

A rational approach to outcome measurement is to select a mix of different categories of scales. Consider these four aims of measurement…

Generic measures

Scales that can be applied across a whole sector - health and social care in this case. Generic measures answer questions such as:

  • How ill are people with addiction problems compared to other users of health care?

  • How complex are the health problems?

  • What is the illness profile of people with addictions?

  • What benefits does treatment have for society as a whole?

  • Is treatment cost effective?

  • What have been the wider savings achieved?

  • Have there been public health gains?

Generic measures address: health status, health diagnoses, socioeconomic status.

Dimension Outcome Measures

Scales that can be applied across a whole speciality or field - addiction in this case. Dimension measures answer questions such as:

  • How severe is the addiction?

  • How problematic are the different elements of the addiction?

  • How difficult is treatment likely to be?

  • Do problems persist after treatment?

  • How good is one addiction service compared to another?

Dimension measures address: substance use and misuse, psychological wellbeing, social wellbeing.

Condition Specific Measures

Scales that can be used for a particular problem or disorder. Condition specific measures answer questions such as:

  • How severe is the specific addiction related diagnosis or problem?

  • How effective is treatment for this specific problem?

  • How do services targeting the condition compare?

The list of condition specific measures is limited only by the range of addiction related disorders or problems. Common examples are: substance dependence, mental health problems, accidents, family functioning, addiction related physical health problems.

Societal Impact Outcome Measures

Societal impact measures are typically not scales, rather bits of information which are often wanted by politicians and managers. Examples are:

  • Attendance at A&E

  • Attendance at primary care clinics

  • Prescription costs

  • Payment of benefits

If you are interested in technical information you may want to…

Scientific articles on types of outcome

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⓵ Fitzpatrick R, Davey C, Buxton MJ and Jones DR (1998) Evaluating patient-based outcome measures for use in clinical trials. Health Technology Assessment; 2(14)  

  View: PDF of monograph