Rapid progress or lengthy process? Electronic personal health records in mental health

BMC Psychiatry. 2011 Jul 26;11:117. doi: 10.1186/1471-244X-11-117.


A major objective of many healthcare providers is to increase patients' participation in their own care. The introduction of electronic personal health records (ePHRs) may help to achieve this. An ePHR is an electronic database of an individual's health information, accessible to and maintained by the patient. ePHRs are very much in vogue, with an increasing number of studies reporting their potential utility as well as cost. However, the vast majority of these studies focus on general healthcare. Little attempt has been made to document the specific problems which might occur throughout the implementation of ePHRs in mental health. This review identifies such concerns through an electronic search of the literature. Several potential difficulties are highlighted and addressed, including access to information technology, identifying relevant populations and the handling of sensitive information. Special attention is paid to the concept of 'empowerment' and what this means in relation to ePHRs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Electronic Health Records / economics
  • Electronic Health Records / statistics & numerical data*
  • Electronic Health Records / trends
  • Forecasting
  • Health Plan Implementation / methods*
  • Health Records, Personal / economics
  • Health Records, Personal / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health / economics
  • Mental Health / trends*
  • Patient Participation / psychology*
  • Patient Participation / trends