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The BiAffect team explores ethical, legal and regulatory issues inherent in the development and deployment of real-time monitoring systems for the diagnosis and management of psychiatric disorders in this article published in Focus: The Journal of Lifelong Learning in Psychiatry.
Current management of psychiatric disorders relies heavily on retrospective, subjective reports provided by patients and their families. Consequently, psychiatric services are often provisioned inefficiently and with suboptimal outcomes. Recent advances in computing and sensor technologies have enabled the development of real-time monitoring systems for the diagnosis and management of psychiatric disorders. The state of these technologies is rapidly evolving, with passive monitoring and predictive modeling as two areas that have great potential to affect psychiatric care. Although outpatient psychiatry probably stands to benefit the most from the use of real-time monitoring technologies, there are also several ways in which inpatient psychiatry may also benefit. As the capabilities of these technologies increase and their use becomes more common, many ethical and legal issues will need to be considered. The role of governmental regulatory bodies and nongovernmental organizations in providing oversight of the implementation of these technologies is an active area of discussion.