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Community Ment Health J. 2003 Dec;39(6):549-55.

Assessing conformance to medication treatment guidelines for schizophrenia in a community mental health center (CMHC).

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor 48109-0020, USA.


The feasibility of implementing current medication treatment guidelines in a community mental health clinic was examined in this cross-sectional and retrospective study. Specifically, two issues were addressed: 1) could we identify a set of clinical guidelines whose utilization could be monitored with a routine medical chart review; and 2) were the requisite data for such a review available in the medical records. An examination of three sets of published guidelines revealed 5 specific guidelines that could be operationalized and monitored. Records were reviewed for a random sample of two-thirds of all patients currently diagnosed with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder (n = 309). Information was collected from the medical record on patient demographics, diagnosis, duration of illness, symptoms and side effects, and medication information. Rates of conformance to the 5 guidelines ranged from a high of 97% to a low of 43%. The use of current guidelines to improve treatment in community clinics appears to be limited by the deficiencies in the medical record and the structure of the guidelines themselves. Standardized progress notes and computerized prescribing programs will improve conformance, and permit the rapid and accurate assessment of conformance to guidelines in community clinics.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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