Case registers in psychiatry: Do they still have a role for research and service monitoring?
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To follow up on reviews of case register research. Literature searches over a 2-year period were conducted to determine whether psychiatric case registers still have a role for research and service monitoring. RECENT FINDINGS: Case register research covers a wide range of topics, and is most often found in Denmark where national databases support all kinds of record linkage studies. Typically, case registers are used in studies of treated prevalence and incidence of psychiatric disorders, in research on patterns of care, as sampling frames in epidemiological studies, and in studies on risk factors and treatment outcome. SUMMARY: Despite a wide range of research based on administrative data, stakeholders in most countries are probably not well served by current priorities. Few studies investigate longitudinal patterns of service use to evaluate healthcare policies. There is a lack of comparative record linkage studies to inform local authorities on the cooperation between mental healthcare and public services. Implementing standard tools and procedures for routine outcome assessment seems still to be in an early phase in most register areas. When case register staff can capitalize on new opportunities, old and new case registers will continue to be important for research and service monitoring.