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Healthy Data Podcast #3: James Reed: Moving Toward Meaningful Mental Health Data

Dr. James Reed, a psychiatrist and chief clinical information officer, reveals how mental health data sharing is transforming patient care in the U.K.

Why have so many data-sharing efforts excluded mental health data when the disconnect risks patient safety and promotes inefficiencies? The answer could be as simple as this: Mental health data is difficult to collect, standardize, and analyze.

But should that notion preclude us from taking the first step toward making it happen, however difficult it may be? Dr. James Reed didn’t think so, so he took action. As a psychiatrist and chief clinical information officer for the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Reed helped launch an innovative network charged with uniting mental health data from four neighboring trusts in the United Kingdom. The organization—MERIT, or the Mental Health Alliance for Excellence, Resilience, Innovation and Training—has since optimized and improved care delivery, eliminated duplicative processes, and earned buy-in from above and below.

On this podcast episode of Healthy Data, we speak with Reed to better understand how sharing mental health data has transformed care in one area and what that could mean for the healthcare industry at large.

Keep in mind that we spoke with Reed before the coronavirus pandemic began its spread. Since then, however, the work of MERIT has remained important amid rising concerns about mental health stemming from social isolation and pandemic-induced panic. The data connections described in this episode, it turns out, might be more critical now than ever before.


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