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Technology in Psychiatry: Year in Review

Technology in Psychiatry: Year in Review

  • Convergence Science: Shaping 21st Century Psychiatry

    What would this look like in psychiatry?
    -Software engineers, informatic experts, behavioral scientists, and clinicians designing devices to provide objective measures to augment patients’ reports of their symptoms, similar to the use of glucose or heart rate monitors.
    -This “smart software” can include:
    -Mobile mental health through mobile devices (i.e., smartphones, wearable devices).
    -Voice analytics, facial expression monitoring, actigraphy, and engagement and analysis of social networks
    -Social prosthetics for children with autism or socially assistive robotics
    -Online interventions for mental health and substance abuse

  • Things to Know About Mobile Mental Health

    Quick Facts

    1. Mobile phones are the most quickly adopted consumer technology in human history (In the US, 35% owned smartphone in 2011, 58% in 2014).

    2. Psychiatric patients own smartphones at high rates and are interested in using them to monitor their mental health, based on published surveys.

    3. There are thousands of apps that target psychiatric conditions, however, there is less clinical research on these apps. For depression and bipolar disorder, one review found less than 15 published studies. There are also concerns for unintended adverse effects in app usage.

    4. There is growing interest in using “passive data,” information the phone collects such as GPS, call logs, and voice. This is hypothesized to be more objective data than patient report, however, there remains questions of privacy, ethics, and clinical utility.

    5. There are guides to help pick apps: PsyberGuide, Anxiety and Depression Association of North America: Mobile Apps, Health Apps Library.

  • Evolving Potential of Mobile Psychiatry: Current Barriers and Future Solutions

    Current Barriers
    -Potential privacy and confidentiality issues
    -Lack of current clinical data for efficacy and safety of specific mobile apps
    -Liability issues
    -Reimbursement for time used reviewing electronic data

    Future Solutions
    -High quality clinical trials and evaluation of risk vs. benefit
    -Ensuring privacy and safety
    -Reviewing legal policies
    -Creating professional and ethical guidelines

  • Harnessing Social Media and Mobile Apps for Mental Health

    In addition to the above points, Microsoft Research has developed algorithms to predict those vulnerable for depression on the basis of their social media posts, which was 70% predictive in a study group.

  • Schizophrenia and Smartphones: Separating Speculation from Science

    -Potential benefits for using smartphone apps is vast but current evidence base in modest.

    -More research is needed that moves beyond basic accessibility and feasibility studies to randomized control trials and efficacy studies.

  • Using the Internet to Increase Access to Evidence-Based Treatment for OCD

    In addition to the above points:

    -I-CBT trials have shown superior efficacy to controls, comparable efficacy to face-to-face meetings, and lower dropout rates.

    -Development of internet based treatments has the potential to revolutionize how we can overcome barriers to provide effective clinical treatment.

As technology continues to expand exponentially, so does our potential to harness these technological capabilities to expand the field of psychiatry. At Psychiatric Times this year, we highlighted a range of topics on these advancements.

The following slides are summaries of several of our popular articles. These topics are based on the development of internet and mobile technologies for mental health, a major area of development that has become a popular, and at times controversial, conversation.

As you scroll through the slides, please read in the captions for descriptions and links to articles.



there is an unbiased comparison of technology for psychiatry at https://adaptivetelehealth.com. You can choose your criteria and it displays the technology that is HIPAA secure.

Karen @

The link to pdf doesn't work

Francesc @

Dead link. thx

John @

Can't get link to work

Ruth @

I can't get the pdf link to work

Mark @

PDF Link not found (404 message).
Please fix it, if possible.

Henry @

PDF link seems to be broken

Jonathan @

PDF link seems to be broken

Jonathan @

Technology in behavioral health, or any health for that matter, is upon us and the wave of the present now, not just the future. It is important for us as clinicians to embrace it and make the effort to learn how to use it and support our clients who are now able to stay connected to health support through technology.

Karen @

Thank you for this informative synopsis.

Marylyn @

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