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WISDOM Mental Health Information System

What is WISDOM?

WISDOM is a web-based mental health information system which records patient information about people presenting for treatment in inpatient and community-based mental health services. The development and implementation of the WISDOM system was a joint project between the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Health Research Board (HRB). The system was developed as a pilot in the Donegal Local Health Area in response to recommendations in the report of the Expert Group on Mental Health Policy, A Vision for Change, (2006) which advised that measures should be put in place to collect data on both inpatient and community-based mental health services.

WISDOM went live in Donegal as a Proof of Concept on 19 January 2009 and the planned duration of this phase was 18 months to 30 June 2010. This date was extended to 31 December 2010 as a result of national and local public service union actions. In June 2010 WISDOM was transferred to the HSE who took the Proof of Concept phase to completion with an extended end date of 31 December 2010. It was decided to suspend use of the system at the end of 2010. A follow-on exercise to establish the business requirements for a national mental health information system is now included in the HSE Service Plan for 2012.

Some of the main benefits of the WISDOM Project include:

  • WISDOM successfully captured the majority of the functional requirements for a national mental health information system and validated the analysis decisions, resulting in a usable system;
  • The extensive learning from the WISDOM project, captured in 'Lessons Learnt' documents will feed forward to decisions regarding a national mental health information system;
  • WISDOM fulfilled its purpose of revealing the realities of developing and using an IT system, it highlighted the technical, human and organisational challenges involved in developing and implementing such a system;
  • The requirement for an information system for the mental health services is now accepted both within the services and HSE ICT;
  • The IT capability of a large number of users within the mental health services has been greatly improved through training and exposure to WISDOM;
  • The level of IT awareness within the mental health service has been significantly raised;
  • Structures for system implementation, management and governance have been established;
  • A comprehensive suite of policy documents which achieved consensus between stakeholders across a range of sensitive issues relating to consent, access rights, security, inter alia, were developed by the Project with input from service user organisations and are serving as models in the health information environment;
  • As a result of participation in the Proof of Concept, the Mental Health Service in County Donegal has been fully equipped with modern computer equipment and networks in preparation for a full ICT implementation and mental health staff have been up-skilled in ICT, data standards and data protection protocols; the computer equipment continues to be used by the service staff in Donegal and will ensure that the service is ready for the implementation of the national system;
  • WISDOM has been an enabler of change within the Mental Health Service in Donegal; it was designed to accommodate and support new team-based processes for service delivery;

The Proof of Concept exercise has demonstrated that:

  • An information system is now seen as a key tool for the Mental Health Service;
  • Information can be shared within the service without compromising service-user confidentiality;
  • Input from service-user groups is a key element in the development of a mental health information system;

Benefits identified by WISDOM users include:

  • WISDOM can deliver efficiencies in information-sharing processes;
  • WISDOM can improve communication between mental health service professionals;
  • WISDOM can improve visibility and knowledge of service-user's contacts with the mental health service;
  • WISDOM can improve visibility and knowledge of service-user's psychiatric history;
  • WISDOM can improve visibility and knowledge of alerts and risks associated with individual service-users.

Further Details

For more information about WISDOM please:

Email rmoran(at) or 

Or phone Ros Moran at +353 1 2345146