A Computerized Tool for Screening of Adult Psychiatric Illnesses: A Third-world Perspective

Subhagata Chattopadhyay

B. C. Roy Technology Hospital Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India


        Screening of psychiatric diseases is always a difficult task due to the variable presentations of the illnesses. Moreover, the screening is often biased due to the prevailing differences in medical logic of the doctors, who hardly have time to incorporate everything depicted in a ready diagnostic tool, e.g., Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) or ICD. Therefore, to reduce such complexities, computerization of psychiatric screening is a unique approach under clinical informatics. The reason behind such a trend could be due to the fact that computerized tools are faster, accurate and reliable. Western-world remains the pathfinder to design such tools, while in the third-world countries, especially in India, no such attempt had been made till date. The present work is thus a pioneering approach to design and develop such a tool to screen adult psychiatric disorders with a third-world perspective. The developed tool is consisted of a list of questions covering eleven broad disease-domains and their subdomains. The questionnaire is set with the help of a group of quali?ed psychiatrists to incorporate their clinical expertise, which is usually based on DSM-IV. The questionnaire-tree is designed using nested if-else logical operators with their answers essentially boolean. The performance of the developed tool has been tested on a large set of diagnosed patients (say, 550). The overall accuracy is found to be quite appreciable.
Keywords: psychiatry; diagnostic tool; DSM-IV; computer; patients; logical flow chart.