Security of electronic mental health communication and record-keeping in the digital age

Jon D. Elhai, B. Christopher Frueh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The mental health field has seen a trend in recent years of the increased use of information technology, including mobile phones, tablets, and laptop computers, to facilitate clinical treatment delivery to individual patients and for record keeping. However, little attention has been paid to ensuring that electronic communication with patients is private and secure. This is despite potentially deleterious consequences of a data breach, which are reported in the news media very frequently in modern times. In this article, we present typical security concerns associated with using technology in clinical services or research. We also discuss enhancing the privacy and security of electronic communication with clinical patients and research participants. We offer practical, easy-to-use software application solutions for clinicians and researchers to secure patient communication and records. We discuss such issues as using encrypted wireless networks, secure e-mail, encrypted messaging and videoconferencing, privacy on social networks, and others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-268
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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