Electronic Health Information Systems adoption in Mental Health

7 01 2013

Forty-six states (94 percent) are either incorporating or planning to incorporate electronic health records in state psychiatric hospitals and planning to support their use in community mental health systems.  SAMHSA, Characteristics of State Mental Health Agency Data Systems, the report’s overview describes the increasingly crucial role IT plays in helping the states provide mental health services.

Public mental health services increasingly rely upon their IT systems to provide essential functions such as:

  • Monitoring the public mental health service system for service gaps
  • Ensuring that persons living with a mental illness receive timely, appropriate, and needed services
  • Reimbursing mental health providers for services provided
  • Building accountability performance targets and outcome measures.

These findings demonstrate that state mental health agencies are devoting considerable resources to improve their mental health information systems by installing EHR systems, building data warehouses, linking multiple data systems, and enhancing the capacity of their information systems.

Source: SAMHSA



Health informatics (also called Health   Information Systems, health care informatics, healthcare   informatics, medical informatics, nursing informatics, clinical   informatics, or biomedical informatics) is a discipline at the   intersection of information science,   computer science,   and health care. It deals with the resources,   devices, and methods required to optimize the acquisition, storage,   retrieval, and use of information in health and biomedicine. Health informatics   tools include not only computers but also clinical guidelines,   formal medical terminologies, and information and communication systems. It   is applied to the areas of nursing, clinical   care, dentistry, pharmacy, public health, occupational therapy,   and (bio)medical research.


An electronic health record (EHR) is an evolving   concept defined as a systematic collection of electronic health information   about individual patients or populations. Sharing can occur by way of   network-connected enterprise-wide information systems and other information   networks or exchanges. EHRs may include a range of data, including demographics,   medication and allergies, personal stats like age and weight, and billing   information.

Each healthcare environment functions differently, often   in significant ways. It is difficult to create a   “one-size-fits-all” EHR system. An ideal EHR system will have   record standardization but interfaces that can be customized to each provider   environment. Modularity in an EHR system facilitates this. This customization   can often be done so that a physician’s input interface closely mimics   previously utilized paper forms.

At the same time they reported negative effects in   communication, increased overtime, and missing records when a non-customized   EMR system was utilized.  Customizing   the software when it is released yields the highest benefits because it is   adapted for the users and tailored to workflows specific to the institution.

Source: Wikipedia

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