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What Is a Clinical Assessment?

A clinical assessment is used to evaluate, diagnose and treat people.
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  • Written By: Kimberly Miller
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 19 March 2014
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A clinical assessment, sometimes referred to as a health assessment, is a documented process that is used to evaluate, diagnose, and treat individuals. The results also can be used to improve the health and productivity of individuals. These assessments provide results that only take into account the individual that is being evaluated, rather than evaluating individuals based on data that is compiled from multiple sources.

These assessments are conducted by medical professionals, and they are used to determine the nature, cause, and potential effects of a patient’s injury, illness, or wellness. This allows healthcare providers to compile the best possible treatment options for their patients based on numerous physical, mental, and medical factors. Often, this results in more detailed and accurate diagnosis and treatment for patients.

Some clinical assessments are mandated by federal agencies to ensure safe medical practices, or to disburse related health benefit payments to patients. Federally mandated assessments typically ensure medical treatment options are in a patient’s best interest. In the United States, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requires a clinical assessment that is referred to as a minimum data set (MDS) for all patients admitted to long-term care facilities that are certified to receive Medicare or Medicaid benefits. The initial assessment is required by the 14th day of the resident’s stay, and additional assessments are required quarterly and yearly. In most cases, a registered nurse (RN) performs the assessments, and assessments are submitted electronically to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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Medical professionals in the psychology or psychiatry field use a mental health assessment to diagnose and treat patients. This highly detailed process helps professionals to carefully plan one or several treatment options, and can include a variety of medical, physical, or behavioral evaluations. The assessment typically remains open-ended as treatment progresses, as diagnosis and treatment can change often based on a patient’s response.

Wellness assessments were developed by medical professionals and are often used by employers. These assessments are typically questionnaires and also include basic medical information, such as weight and blood pressure. It's typically used to determine an employee's wellness in regard to his or her lifestyle. In some cases, the employer may consult with a medical professional to develop or analyze wellness assessments and assist in planning or implementing programs to improve results. Although this assessment can be costly for an employer, it often improves profitability over time by decreasing healthcare costs and improving employee productivity.

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Discuss this Article

cafe41
Post 3

Suntan12 -I can tell you that most people overeat because of anxiety, stress, depression, or entertainment.

I know that many psychologists would narrow down the reason pretty quickly by using their clinical assessment workbook to outline how to proceed.

I imagine that food addictions are a little harder to treat because food is something that we all have to deal with because everyone has to eat, but not everyone has to drink, smoke or do drugs.

People always have to learn how to deal with food and if this is the problem the psychologist will recommend an alternative activity in place of eating.

Sometimes they will ask the patient to record their feelings throughout the day and include what they ate to determine what the problem is. Journaling is a widely used tool for assessing patient’s state of mind.

suntan12
Post 2

Helene55- That is how I see it too. I wanted to add that a clinical psychological assessment often helps someone overcome destructive or addictive behavior.

Psychologists may use a variety of therapeutic measures to determine the best way to treat a patient.

For example, cognitive behavioral therapy is really effective in treating addictions. With cognitive behavioral therapy the patient learns how to replace the destructive behavior with a healthier approach.

Through role playing and mentally rehearsing new steps a patient can slowly change their behavior for the best.

For example, if you have a person that is addicted to food and is overweight, the psychologist would determine the triggers that caused the person to overeat and address them.

helene55
Post 1

The difference between a clinical assessment and a regular check up is that these assessments are usually done for a reason, like a job. They're more like physicals that way, making sure a person is healthy enough to be "fit" for something and seeing, if there are any problems, just what they are.

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