Separate may not be equal: A preliminary investigation of clinical correlates of electronic psychiatric record accessibility in academic medical centers

Dana E. Kozubal, Quincy M. Samus, Aishat A. Bakare, Carrilin C. Trecker, Hei Wah Wong, Huiying Guo, Jeffrey Cheng, Paul X. Allen, Lawrence S. Mayer, Kay R. Jamison, Adam I. Kaplin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: Electronic Medical Records (EMR) have the potential to improve the coordination of healthcare in this country, yet the field of psychiatry has lagged behind other medical disciplines in its adoption of EMR. Methods: Psychiatrists at 18 of the top US hospitals completed an electronic survey detailing whether their psychiatric records were stored electronically and accessible to non-psychiatric physicians. Electronic hospital records and accessibility statuses were correlated with patient care outcomes obtained from the University Health System Consortium Clinical Database available for 13 of the 18 top US hospitals. Results: 44% of hospitals surveyed maintained most or all of their psychiatric records electronically and 28% made psychiatric records accessible to non-psychiatric physicians; only 22% did both. Compared with hospitals where psychiatric records were not stored electronically, the average 7-day readmission rate of psychiatric patients was significantly lower at hospitals with psychiatric EMR (5.1% vs. 7.0%, p= .040). Similarly, the 14 and 30-day readmission rates at hospitals where psychiatric records were accessible to non-psychiatric physicians were lower than those of their counterparts with non-accessible records (5.8% vs. 9.5%, p= .019, 8.6% vs. 13.6%, p= .013, respectively). The 7, 14, and 30-day readmission rates were significantly lower in hospitals where psychiatric records were both stored electronically and made accessible than at hospitals where records were either not electronic or not accessible (4% vs 6.6%, 5.8% vs 9.1%, 8.9 vs 13%, respectively, all with p= 0.045). Conclusions: Having psychiatric EMR that were accessible to non-psychiatric physicians correlated with improved clinical care as measured by lower readmission rates specific for psychiatric patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-267
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Informatics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013



  • EHealth
  • Electronic Health Records (EHR)
  • Electronic Medical Records (EMR)
  • Medical records
  • Psychiatry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics

Cite this