Data-Gathering Tools for "Real World" Clinical Settings: A Multisite Feasibility Study

Peter S. Jensen, Ruth Ann C. Irwin, Allan M. Josephson, Harry Davis, Stephen N. Xenakis, Linda Bloedau, Robert Ness, Alex Mabe, Bernard Lee, John Traylor, Lance Clawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the mental health needs and optimal treatments for children and families in "real world" settings, data-gathering strategies are needed that can be easily implemented across a variety of clinical settings. To address this need, the authors developed and piloted a "clinician-friendly" questionnaire that includes demographic, psychosocial, medical, and family history variables, such as those routinely gathered in standard clinical evaluations. Method: Optical scanning technology was used to encode data from more than 1,900 children, including 1,458 consecutive referrals in four military child psychiatry clinics, 285 consecutive admissions to a civilian psychiatric state hospital, 71 pediatric patients, and a community sample of 113 children. Results: Despite geographic and logistic obstacles, clinical data were reliably obtained across multiple settings. Data analyses revealed meaningful differences across samples in subjects' presenting complaints, and a range of psychosocial, demographic, and background variables. Data were characterized by an apparently high degree of accuracy and completeness. Conclusions: Findings illustrate the importance and feasibility of standardized data-gathering approaches in routine clinical settings and clarify the hazards as well as the opportunities afforded by these research approaches. Such data-gathering tools appear to have significant merit and deserve further implementation and testing across a range of clinical and research settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-66
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1996


  • Assessment
  • Clinical database
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Patient registry
  • Research methods
  • Services research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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