Harnessing ADSMs to improve IAPT treatment outcomes

Recording ADSMs in your electronic patient record can improve data quality and impact on recovery rates for psychological therapy.

With the national IAPT team highlighting their importance for outcomes, are you using ADSMs correctly?



What are ADSMs?

ADSM stands for Anxiety Disorder Specific Measure. They are sensitive measures of the severity of particular anxiety disorders and are seen as an important way of ensuring the right treatment is provided to patients.

NHS England’s latest IAPT Manual sets out the importance of ADSMs as below:

Section 5.1.5

“As part of the assessment process, it is important for the clinician to ensure the appropriate
outcome measure has been selected. If the problem descriptor is linked to a particular
ADSM or MUS measure it is essential that the relevant measure is given at every treatment

Section 6.2.1

“Inspection of item-by-item responses on ADSMs can be particularly informative. For
example, the PCL-5 is used to monitor progress in PTSD.”

“NHS Digital use the PHQ-9 and the relevant ADSM to calculate recovery and reliable
improvement, when matched with the problem descriptor.”


How are PCMIS helping?

PCMIS supports the completion of ADSMs in a number of ways:

Mandatory ADSMs | All revelant ADSMs are set to mandatory within PCMIS, To encourage their completion at each and every contact the system includes helpful prompts for clinicians.

ADSMs on the Digital Pathway | The PCMIS Portal can prompt patients to complete the relevant ADSM when completing sessional outcome measures online in advance of an appointment.

ADSM Reporting Matrix | A dedicated ADSMs reporting area providing visibility around completion rates.


Further Reading

The IAPT manual explains the importance of ADSMs within the context of wider IAPT treatments.

Professor David M Clarke’s ADSMs paper has some interesting research and evidence around their importance.