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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 56 (2014) 6, 394 - 401


Contribution to quality of care or caught in a digital labyrinth? Experience with electronic records of patients receiving long-term mental health care

A.R. van Gool, E. Hoogervorst, L. Wunderink, C.L. Mulder

background In recent years electronic health records (ehrs) have been introduced on a large scale into mental health care. ehrs have a great number of advantages, one of the main ones being readability. However, very little attention seems to have been paid to the potential disadvantages and risks associated with ehrs.
aim To point to some of the disadvantages and risks of ehrs, in their present form, particularly in relation to the care of patients with severe mental illness (smi).
method On the basis of clinical experience and relevant literature, we discuss some of the disadvantages and risks associated with ehrs in their current form.
results In long-term, multidisciplinary and complex treatments of patients with smi, ehrs in their current form fail to provide the psychiatrist with an adequate overview of the treatment process. This is largely due to the way they are designed: an ever-increasing quantity of information about complex treatment stored in separate files that can only be accessed individually and that contain free text. In mental health care the introduction of new technology, unlike the introduction of new drugs, seems to occur without structured surveillance of the disadvantages and risks involved.

conclusioNEHRs need to be re-designed at the earliest opportunity.

keywords electronic patient record, psychiatrist, risk assessment, severe mental illness