Grant: #73049

Grantee Institution: The Research Foundation for the SUNY, University at Albany

Principal Investigator: James Boswell, Ph.D.

Grant Period: October 1, 2015 – June 30, 2017

Budget: $307,839

Project Aim: To examine diverse mental health care consumers' attitudes and preferences regarding the use of provider outcome/performance information, and the relative values placed on providers' performance track record compared to other potentially important provider/treatment factors.

Key Findings:

  • Patients value provider performance track records when making treatment decisions. They also value working with therapists who have established specific efficacy in treating their primary problem domain, charge less, and with whom there is a high likelihood of establishing a good working alliance.
  • Patients who place more value on provider performance track records tend to be younger and more trusting of the performance information, and believe that providers are not interchangeable.
  • Incorporating provider performance information into mental health care decision-making has potential to promote better treatment engagement, retention, and outcomes.

Project Description: 

The project utilized semi-structured consumer interviews and focus groups, as well as a survey methodology that integrated a delay-discounting paradigm to better understand consumer and patient preferences and decision-making. The researchers examined diverse community mental health center consumers’ attitudes and preferences regarding the use of provider outcome/performance information and the relative values placed on providers’ performance track records compared to other provider/treatment characteristics. Despite demonstrated differences in performance among mental health care (MHC) providers, consumers rarely had direct access to performance information to inform their provider selection or treatment decision-making. The goal of this study was to inform the development and implementation of consumer-focused methods for optimizing personalized mental health care provider selection and fit. 

This project was funded as part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s solicitation “Optimizing Value in Health Care: Consumer-focused Trends from the Field,” which supported studies that addressed consumer perceptions of value in the new and emerging health care landscape.



Keeping psychologists in the driver’s seat: Four perspectives on quality improvement and clinical data registries.
Psychotherapy | 2019

Mental Health Care Consumers’ Relative Valuing of Clinician Performance Information
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology | April 2018

Patients Value Provider Performance Track Records
AcademyHealth | August 2018

Harnessing the therapist effect in patient-centered mental health care decision making
Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research | September 2017

The implications of therapist effects for routine practice, policy, and training
How and Why are Some Therapists Better than Others? | 2017