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J ECT. 2010 Dec;26(4):304-9. doi: 10.1097/YCT.0b013e3181d26b54.

Electroconvulsive therapy clinical database: a standardized approach in tertiary care psychiatry.

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  • 1Geriatric Psychiatry Program, Riverview Hospital, BC Mental Health and Addiction Services, Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada.


Across health care disciplines research reflects the usefulness of integrating computer technology into administrative and clinical practices. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) researchers are often interested in examining 3 primary areas: patient characteristics, treatment characteristics, and treatment outcomes. Generating reports and conducting research analysis via the traditional patient chart review are a time-consuming and costly method. At Riverview Hospital, a tertiary care psychiatric hospital, the active use of a clinical database for patients receiving ECT allows for detailed treatment tracking and evaluation of pretreatment and posttreatment patient outcome measures. Initially, designed as part of a quality improvement process to readily access patient information and generate periodic reports, the ECT clinical database is now a central resource for ECT-specific patient, treatment, and outcome tracking. The relevance, design, content variables, and subsequent functions of the entry and storage of ECT-related administrative, treatment, outcome, and patient factors are clearly outlined and discussed. Strengths and limitations to the existing database are shared. Recommendations to other ECT services to implement this valuable documentation strategy are addressed. This approach can be an invaluable tool in providing the field of psychiatry with further contributions to ECT clinical outcomes.

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