Advances in Mental Health, Vol 12, No 2 (2014)

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Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records in Australia: Challenges in Communication of Mental Health Information

Caroline Spiranovic


The purpose of this paper was to explore the implications of mental health literacy for uptake, use and benefits of Australia's Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR). A narrative review was undertaken using literature gained through university search engines, Google Scholar, and government and other reputable websites. Documents retrieved were predominantly recent (i.e. since 2005) and Australian-based. Key findings were that low levels of mental health literacy can adversely affect: interpretations of health-related information, help-seeking behaviours, use of health services, and peer support for those living with mental illness. Consumers with low levels of mental health literacy, as observed in many disadvantaged groups in Australia, may benefit from additional support in order to use and derive the benefits envisaged for the PCEHR. It was concluded that low levels of mental health literacy may limit the uptake, use and benefits of Australia's PCEHR. A number of possible strategies to assist consumers with low mental health literacy were discussed. It was noted that targeted approaches to addressing mental health literacy in disadvantaged groups are warranted to minimise disparity in health care access and long-term health outcomes. It was also suggested that healthcare providers could play an important role in encouraging uptake of the PCEHR by placing greater emphasis on patient education and support.

Advances in Mental Health

ISSN 1837-4905
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