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Policy direction 4:

           Hong Kong must facilitate system-wide integration
           through exploring the use of a multidisciplinary data
           communication system and adopting a system-wide
           standardised mental health care protocol to enhance
           care experiences

           The multidisciplinary nature of mental health implies that different service providers
           across sectors are often involved in the care process that may necessitate persons
           with mental health conditions to repeat their stories to different service providers.
           Health data communication and standardised care protocols are key in facilitating
           the integration of mental health services. Australia’s mental health system offers
           an example of an integrated mental health system that uses a secure data sharing
           platform for all relevant care providers, including physicians and allied health
           professionals (such as psychologists and social workers). The Australian system also
           implements a common assessment and referral tool to match patients to the most
           suitable level of care. In Hong Kong, beyond improving different forms of formal and
           informal care, the Government must be proactive in taking a system-level approach
           in ensuring integration and coordination between mental health services. While
           data privacy remains a major concern in Hong Kong, data communication between
           multidisciplinary care teams should be explored to facilitate effective and efficient
           coordination, as should standardised care protocols for assessing patients’ needs and
           guiding mental health practitioners on the best course of treatment.

           While various data communication platforms are in place within the HA and beyond,
           such as the Electronic Health Record Sharing System, consideration should be
           given to enable medical and psychosocial professionals to access and efficiently
           communicate via such platforms. To achieve data communication and ensure that
           relevant care professionals are given timely and appropriate access level to patients’
           clinical and psychosocial health information, the Government should explore the
           use of a data system that allows key health and social sector professionals, such as
           psychiatrists, CPs, social workers, and relevant health professionals, to communicate
           mental health information. The use of such a data system must also consider
           patients’ data privacy and user autonomy.

           In relation to service provision, Hong Kong’s mental health system does not
           generally employ a common assessment tool between all relevant mental healthcare
           professionals. As a consequence, patients with similar mental health conditions may
           receive different referrals for care, depending on the professional they seek care
           from and the metrics that are used. To ensure consistent care quality and referral
           of patients to appropriate care levels, the Government should consider adopting a
           mental health sector-wide protocol including a systematic common assessment and
           digital decision-making tool to standardise diagnoses and follow-up care.

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