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Logo of bmcpsycBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Psychiatry
BMC Psychiatry. 2011; 11: 117.
Published online 2011 July 26. doi:  10.1186/1471-244X-11-117
PMCID: PMC3163520

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


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.

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