Journal Article

Mental health, risk communication and data quality in the electronic age

Joan Langan

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 39, issue 3, pages 467-487
Published in print April 2009 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online November 2007 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Mental health, risk communication and data quality in the electronic age

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This paper discusses the impact on mental health service users of the computerised healthcare programme currently being developed by the NHS that aims to make healthcare information available on a much wider basis than is currently the case. The potential benefits of electronic health records are considerable in terms of enhancing effective and safe healthcare. Yet electronic databases, whatever their purported aim, open up the potential for greater surveillance in a state where dissidence is becoming less easily tolerated and technological advances allow greater inroads into private lives. With a specific focus upon service users considered to pose a risk to other people, and drawing upon qualitative research jointly conducted by the author, this paper focuses upon the use of risk assessments in practice, the accuracy of information about risk, service users’ rights re access to information, their involvement in risk assessment and the objectivity of risk information. The paper concludes with a discussion of possible outcomes for mental health service users and professionals.

Keywords: electronic records; risk information; risk assessment; service user involvement

Journal Article.  8325 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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