Objective: Evaluations of the process of providing mental health care have been hampered because a tool to systematically describe the interventions actually provided by the services was lacking. In this paper the development of such a tool (the International Classification of Mental Health Care; ICMHC) is described.
Method: Subsequent versions of the ICMHC were developed, using comments from experts in 24 WHO field centres and results from a number of field trials. In the final version 10 Modalities of Care can be used to describe Modules of Care, using the Level of Specialization scale. The inter-rater reliability of this version was evaluated by the Italian research team, using data from 43 services.
Results: Reliability ranged from excellent for nine modalities to reasonably good for the remaining modality.
Conclusion: In the context of evaluation studies, the ICMHC can be used to describe systematically mental health care interventions.