Technology in Psychiatry Summit, 2017 (11/06/2017) day1, morning


I was in a cool symposium dealing the topics regarding the evolution of digital technologies and big data analyses in mental health. It was hosted by McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School. At first, I was not so much enthusiastic about this topic, not being interested in mentioning cutting-edge technology in health, which I thought was rather whimsical.


The word “Big data” is just so common that everybody seems to abuse this terminology. However, in the opening session slide, I could see “collecting big data is not enough!!”


This excellent work by Torous et al. in 2017 in Transl Psychiatry was introduced during the session. RDoc is the new criteria proposed by major researchers in NIMH and this figure suggests an ideal scheme of how you can reach the preclinical and clinical period of mental diseases by using smartphones. (you can see full text at: 2017_TranslPsychiatry_Torous_RDoc_smartphone)


In the later discussion, there was a mention about “digital phenotypes”: mobility, sociability, activity, and sleep, and clinical outcomes were the major domains.


If you utilize PHQ-9, a classic and simple tool measuring depression, every day with your app, you can get precise and valid scores. No wonder if you have repeated data, you get more power to analyze.img_1197-1

Using traditional methods in psychiatry, it was hard to distinguish between seperate disease domain. Diseases such as MDD, schizophrenia, Bipolar, and schizoaffective disorder all shares certain trait.

I was surprised to know the highly developed digitalized technology currently in this field; the slide above shows you a program that can analyze facial expression continuously by time series to measure mood change in certain periods. The summary data is possible to be utilized in clinical settings.

Psychiatric patients also use smartphones and apps; this enables the approach of digital intervention among them. It was interesting that the major reason for smartphone use among the schizophrenia patients was to listen to music to avoid auditory hallucination. The analysis in smartphone use can give you clues for disease severity and relapse.


This slide shows you the example of smartphone use data for detecting the relapse of schizophrenia.


However, not all the present apps for mental health are valid or safe. The American Psychiatric Association gives you the pros and cons opinions, along with their guideline of developing a sound app. (you can look into the following website: app development in APA)

Interesting conference! Will be updated for other sessions.


King of wearable measurement watch  I’ve seen in AURORA study.

(They say it can assess PTSD)


Published by sunjaejung

Epidemiologist/Psychiatric Epidemiologist/ Preventive Medicine Specialist/ Medical Doctor

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: