Online Assessments helps diagnose Mental Illness

There may be some benefits in diagnosing people without seeing or speaking to them BUT I find this idea quite dangerous.  The Black Dog Institute admit to having a close relationship with the pharmaceutical industry and say that :

‘New drugs have brought great advances in recent years in the treatment of the mood disorders. The Black Dog Institute is at the forefront of research into therapeutic benefits of drug treatments, and works closely with pharmaceutical companies.  For example, Institute researchers conduct clinical trials of new drugs.  Institute specialists often speak at medical conferences, including conferences sponsored by companies making medical or pharmaceutical products.

ABC News Online 24 October, 2010

It is hoped a new online mental health self-assessment service will help doctors achieve more accurate diagnoses for their patients.

Research by The New South Wales Black Dog Institute found sufferers of mental illness are likely to reveal more information about their condition online.

The institute has created the mood assessment program, or MAP, which is now available to GPs and psychologists all over Australia.

Patients can complete the assessment at home and doctors do not see the patients’ answers, but receive an automatically generated report.

The institute’s Professor Gordon Parker says MAP is based on nearly a quarter of a century of the clinical expertise.

“The MAP is unique. No other computerised program offers such a thorough assessment of depressive illness,” he said.

“It provides referring practitioners with a range of information about their patient including depressive subtype, likelihood of bipolar disorder, personality predisposition and social and environmental detail.”

He says MAP also alleviates the burden on consultation time.

Dr Louise Stone from the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine says the program can also help rural GPs to assess patients who cannot get to regular appointments.

“With the MAP program being online, one of the advantages of that approach is that rural and remote practitioners particularly can get an almost second opinion about the way they see their patients,” she said.

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