Red tape hinders access to big data on mental health


Researchers struggle to access clinical data because data requests take too long to process. Cynthia Joyce, chief executive of UK mental health research charity MQ said: “This has become a real impediment to research, as well as diagnosis”.

Researchers need speedy access to clinical information to better define mental health problems, pinpoint appropriate treatments for patients and help improve the care system, Joyce said.

Stephen Docherty, chief information officer at South London and Maudsley (SLaM) NHS Foundation Trust, agreed that it is important that mental health researchers gain timely access to data. He said that a centre launched this week would provide a useful solution.

Docherty is co-chairman of the Centre of Translational Informatics, a centre for digital innovation in mental health care, which opened on 7 June. The centre was set up by King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience and SLaM, with funding from the National Institute for Health Research’s Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre.

The big data revolution has yet to reach the world of mental health research. - Cynthia Joyce

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