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Effectiveness of a Self-Administered Computerized Mental Health Screening Tool in the Emergency Department.

Thompson RG, Mullinax S, De Monte R, McBain S, Porter A, Eastin C, Landes SJ, Wilson MP. Effectiveness of a Self-Administered Computerized Mental Health Screening Tool in the Emergency Department. Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.). 2023 Nov 1; 74(11):1180-1184.

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OBJECTIVE: The authors sought to determine the effectiveness of a self-administered computerized mental health screening tool in a general acute care emergency department (ED). METHODS: Changes in patient care (diagnosis of a past-year psychiatric disorder, request for psychiatric consultation, psychiatric referral at discharge, or transfer to psychiatric facility) and patient ED return visits (3 months after discharge vs. 3 months before) were assessed among ED physicians (N = 451) who received patients' computerized screening reports (N = 207) and those who did not (N = 244). All patients received copies of screening results. RESULTS: The computerized mental health screening tool identified previously undiagnosed psychiatric problems. However, no statistically significant differences were found in physician care or patient ED return visits. CONCLUSIONS: Computerized mental health screening did not result in further psychiatric diagnoses or treatment; it also did not significantly reduce patient ED return visits. Collaboration among EDs and mental health treatment agencies, organizations, and researchers is needed to facilitate appropriate treatment referrals and linkage.

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