Dr John Docherty has written an interesting piece on ‘Preparing the Field for Transformation: The Practice of Psychiatry in the Digital Age‘. The article is an overview of how digital technology might change the practice of Psychiatry.
Dr Docherty refers to ‘objective, quantitative, and momentary and continuous assessment’. There have been lots of debates about whether psychiatry assesses ‘objective’ or ‘subjective’ phenomenon and so the concept of providing numerical measures of behaviours has an appeal to the ‘objective’ camp. However this is in reality more of a metaphysical question. No matter how many different types of rulers you use, the mind is always there and is the essence of what psychiatry deals with. Bringing more measures will be useful, but as always will be just one part of the picture.
‘Momentary and continuous assessment’ are useful concepts. Even in inpatient settings, the data is not continuous recorded but is rather summarised for a period of time. This type of information is invaluable and not likely to be supplanted. Dr Docherty refers to the addition of new types of data continuously recorded such as movement data and it will be interesting to see how this develops.
Teleconferencing and computerised therapy have developed over many decades and have a practical role in specialised settings. Perhaps this mirrors the wider adoption of these types of technologies as they become more acceptable.
I was interested to hear about technology supporting care-coordination and again it will be interesting to see how this develops.
This is a brief overview of the field but one which helps the reader to take stock of the current situation and to see how management may develop in the future.
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