A recent study released in The International Journal of Medical Informatics suggests that the inclusion of a psychiatric patient’s psychiatric records within their electronic medical record can result in a decreased likelihood of their re-admittance to a hospital following discharge. Within the scope of the study, the researchers concluded that psychiatric patients were 40 percent less likely to be readmitted to a hospital within a month of discharge when their mental health records were included in their EMR.

Carried out by Johns Hopkins University, this study involved the top 18 hospitals in the United States as they were defined in a 2007 U.S. News & World Report list. Of these top 18 hospitals, less than half of them included inpatient psychiatric records within inpatient EMRs. But even within the hospitals that included these records in EMRs, many did not make this mental health information available to non-psychiatric doctors. Overall, of the 18 hospitals surveyed, only 22 percent included mental health records in patient’s EMRs and made these record easily accessible to non-psychiatric doctors.

Standard Psychiatric Care

Traditionally, a patient’s psychiatric records have remained separate from the rest of their medical records. This practice has been in place in order to show respect for a patient’s privacy in matters of mental health. However, the preliminary findings of this study suggest that including the mental health history of a patient within their EMR aids doctors in successfully administering treatment. Since the prevailing goal of all medical disciplines is to successfully treat a patient so that they may enjoy good health, studies of this kind make a strong case for a higher degree of transparency within the medical field.

Proper communication between cooperating entities is a fundamental part of any business. This is exceptionally true within the field of medicine, where the clientele’s quality of life is at stake. Tools like electronic medical records and readily-available psychiatric information will help your business function more smoothly, but these practices are capable of even greater feats. They can help your patients’ quality of life. After all, that’s what you’re in the business for.