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EMRs for mental health?

I’ve been wondering, has anyone in mental health truly had success with an EMR? I can’t imagine any psychotherapist sitting at a computer typing notes while there’s a patient on the couch. That would be particularly bad for a patient with self-esteem issues.

I imagine that tablets like the iPad may make this a little easier, but what psychotherapists really need is something like a pen tablet (with a stylus rather than touch-screen) or digital ink to mimic taking notes on a pad of paper.

The other issue related to EMRs in mental health is the exchange of notes with other physicians. Will an electronic note from therapist back to the primary care physician wind up in the electronic chart that might get sent, say, to an orthopedist or gastroenterologist? The only thing other specialists really would need to know is the patient’s medication list, not a psychiatric diagnosis or treatment history, right? Segmenting out sensitive parts of an EMR like treatment for mental health and sexually transmitted diseases is something vendors and CIOs have struggled with for years, and I believe continue to struggle with.

In both cases, I’d love to hear your anecdotes here.

April 22, 2011 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

My week in review

Since I’m starting to write a lot of daily/breaking news, I’m going to try something new today that might become a regular Friday feature: posting my week in review. It will consist of a quick rundown of stories I’ve written this week. Here goes:

Monday

“Patient Safety Initiative To Leverage Health IT: The $1 billion federal Partnership for Patients initiative aims to cut $35 billion in healthcare costs, save 60,000 lives, and decrease hospital-acquired conditions by 40% by 2013.” (InformationWeek)

Tuesday

“Medicare Opens EHR ‘Meaningful Use’ Attestation” (InformationWeek)

“How mobile health can abide by HIPAA” (MobiHealthNews)

“State of mobile and wireless healthcare” (video/slides of my recent presentation to Meharry Medical College)

Wednesday

“CMIOs to begin testing BlackBerry PlayBook” (MobiHealthNews)

Thursday

“More Unrealistic Expectations From the Public, This Time Involving CDS” (EMR and HIPAA)

 

I’ve got another InformationWeek story to crank out this afternoon that may or may not get posted until Monday, and a podcast in the works, too. Bring on the weekend!

 

I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.