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EHR Data Shows 1 in 10 Visits to the Pediatrician Result in the Diagnosis of a Mental Health Condition

by Michelle Mangino, Social Media Manager

Over the past year, the athenaResearch team has published three data-focused reports on the evolving state of mental health among children in the U.S. Drawing from patient visits maintained by our EHR on our cloud-based network, athenaNet, the research team identified the prevalence of increased mental health diagnoses from July 2009 through June 2013 based on visits by patients ages 6-17, seeing 431 pediatricians. (Mental health conditions are more common among school age children than among pre-school children).

athenaResearch found that one in 10 visits to the pediatrician yields the diagnosis of a mental health condition. And the team has observed that the increase was primarily driven by five diagnostic categories: Attention Deficit Hypertension Disorder (ADHD), anxiety, autism, depression and eating disorders.

I won’t go into too much detail here as the athenaResearch has done a very thorough job of that in their two posts, “Data Points to Behavioral Health as a Growing Challenge for Pediatricians” and “No Lack of Attention to ADHD.” Some of you may be familiar with one or both of these posts, but I would like to bring this insight back to the forefront, as it is an important one for health care providers, patients and families. This may be an especially relevant time for pediatricians to keep these insights in mind as back-to-school visits can often bring these patients back into their practice at a greater volume.

Finally, here’s a recently created infographic that highlights the top-level findings from the athenaResearch team’s mental health reports. (Note: The data in the infographic is based on mental health diagnoses from January 2010 through the end of 2013.)

pediatric mental health data sets

If you have questions or suggestions for further analysis, please direct them to athenaResearch Vice President Josh Gray at jogray@athenahealth.com or @JoshGray_hit.

This infographic was originally published as part of the Where Does It Hurt? series in The Atlantic, which examines how data is transforming health care.

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