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Communication between health care professions 

Communication between health care professions
Communication between health care professions

John E. Cooper

and Norman Sartorius

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date: 21 November 2018

The first purpose of the classifications of mental disorders produced by psychiatrists has always been to summarize the current knowledge about mental disorders (and the links and limits between them) and to facilitate communication among psychiatrists about their recognition and management. The compilers of the classifications assumed that other professions involved in the care of the mentally ill (e.g. psychiatric nurses and general practitioners) would wish to use the same classification, and that the classifications would also be used for public health purposes. But these expectations were not fulfilled, in that different professional groups produced their own classifications of mental disorders. In addition, it soon became necessary to produce classifications for other purposes — for example the reimbursement of costs for care and the reports on the performance of health services. The consequence has been that a number of classifications have been produced and used, but often in forms that are not easily translatable into each other. As a result, communication and reporting about mental disorders and their treatment between health care professionals has often been of poor quality. The World Health Organization attempted to resolve this problem by issuing the ICD-10 Chapter V(F) in three versions — one for daily clinical work by psychiatrists, one for use by researchers, and one for use in primary health care. Care was taken to ensure that these three versions were easily translatable into each other. For a variety of reasons the use of these three classifications has not become universal, and the problem of ensuring cross-disciplinary communication and uniform reporting about mental health care continues to be a major challenge.

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