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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: John K. Larson, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This book, one in a series on health informatics in medicine, dentistry, and nursing, focuses on behavioral healthcare.
Purpose: This volume is intended to meet the need for an authoritative reference on the particular application of information technology in the delivery and management of a behavioral healthcare system.
Audience: The book is intended as an introduction and a reference on the major topics of concern in the use of computers and the Internet in behavioral healthcare. The target audience consists of policymakers, information system planners, and clinicians who use those systems. The section on the Internet will also be of great interest to informed consumers of healthcare.
Features: The book is divided into four relatively self-contained sections covering both the science and practical aspects of clinical computing, the Internet, the consumer perspective, technological issues, and organizational issues. It deftly handles the tension between the need for information and the need for privacy. The first section contains an excellent overview and includes a straightforward chapter on current and emerging technologies. The next section describes a collection of technologies dealing with psychotherapy, medication management, and treatment planning. The third section is concerned with the impact of technology on quality in both the private and the public sectors. The final section focuses on the organizational and leadership issues involved in integrating information systems into a healthcare organization. Each chapter contains a concise but current and relevant list of references for additional reading.
Assessment: This is a badly-needed reference on the complex issues involved in using computers in a behavioral health setting. It succeeds admirably in its effort to provide an introduction to these topics while providing an in-depth exploration. The technology involved changes rapidly, but the topics in these pages are timeless and this book should serve as a worthy reference for many years to come.