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Three County Case Register

The Health Research Board (HRB) operated a psychiatric case register in a number of Irish counties for just over thirty years until 2003. The register was established in 1973 at the same time as the distinct St Loman's Case Register, which still operates in the Dublin South West mental health catchment area. It began with a census of all patients in all forms of psychiatric care on 31 March 1973 in the counties of Roscommon, Westmeath and the composite county of Carlow/South Kildare. All subsequent contacts with the psychiatric services in these areas were then recorded until the closure of the register in 2003.

The psychiatric case register:

-          was patient centred not event centred. Therefore, a patient was registered when he/she first made contact with the psychiatric services and all subsequent contacts with the psychiatric services were recorded.

-          was service orientated. All components of the psychiatric services were covered. The Three-County Case Register gathered data on in-patient, outpatient, clinic and home visit activity.

-          was a longitudinal, cumulative and linked record system; The longitudinal nature of psychiatric case registers and the accumulation of contact data on patients enabled analysis of service change and trends to be conducted inter alia.

-          related to a defined geographical area with a known population, allowing prevalence rates per 100,000 population to be examined.

After the Register was established, detailed information on activity in community mental health services was available in Ireland for the first time. It also collected a much more extensive range of data than that gathered on the National Psychiatric In-patient Reporting System, particularly socio demographic data.  A further benefit included its facilitation of the monitoring of patients over time in individual catchment areas.

The Register, together with the St Loman's Case Register was used as the basis for a number of studies, including major international studies on the social and genetic aspects of schizophrenia and alcohol dependence.

A decision was taken to close down the Register in September 2003 and to work on the development of a nationwide system for the collection of information in community psychiatric services i.e. the Community Care (COMCAR) database which has developed into the WISDOM system.